McIlroy takes Route 66 to share Arnold Palmer lead

It was his best opening round since a 64 at the 2020 Tour Championship and now Rory McIlroy leads the way again at the Arnold Palmer Invitational following a day one 6-under 66 for a share of the lead alongside Canadian Corey Conners.

The 2018 winner capped off today’s round with five consecutive birdies from his 11th hole in perfect morning conditions at the Bay Hill course in Orlando, Florida.

McIlroy’s 26 putts included 11 one-putt holes after finding 14 of the 18 greens in regulation for a total of just under 40 metres of putts across the round.

“It was good. It wasn’t like that quick, obviously a total of 66 is a great way to start the tournament, but the first few holes were a little slow going and I made a really good birdie on 14 and that sort of got me, got the round going,” said McIlroy.

“I played well…hit some really good shots, some good drives, I saw a lot of really positive signs out there today, which was, which is really encouraging.”

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: PGA Tour)

Lying one shot back is Bryson DeChambeau, who signed for a 5-under 67. DeChambeau finished runner-up to McIlroy in 2018.

“I played really good besides something weird that happened on 11, just a little 3-footer I missed, haven’t done that in a long time and I guess I was due for it,” said DeChambeau.

“But for the most part — I was struggling with the putter. My driver was in the fairway, which is great. So for the most part again going back to the round today I felt pretty comfortable and looking forward to hitting it in the fairway more and hitting my irons close.”

Jason Day continued his good form with a 2-under 70 leaving him in a share of 15th with Cameron Percy another two shots back on even-par and equal 43rd place.

Last year’s runner-up, Marc Leishman, shares 71st place, Cameron Davis (T96) and Matt Jones (T96) all have plenty of work to do tomorrow to make it through to the weekend.