PGA Tour: Billy Horschel and Talor Gooch take Arnold Palmer Invitational lead as Rory McIlroy struggles | Golf News


Rory McIlroy remains in contention despite shooting four over par on Saturday in Florida; Viktor Hovland gives up the lead after making four bogeys on back nine; watch the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational live on Sunday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 05/03/22 11:52 pm

Rory McIlroy struggled in challenging conditions at Bay Hill on Saturday

American duo Billy Horschel and Talor Gooch share the lead going into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, after Viktor Hovland blew a significant advantage at Bay Hill on Saturday.

Horschel (-1) and Gooch (par) produced steady rounds despite challenging conditions in Florida to finish seven under, while overnight leader Hovland ended a shot back after a disappointing back nine saw him shoot a three-over 75.

Rory McIlroy and Tyrell Hatton, who started Saturday two shots behind Hovland on seven under, both endured hugely frustrating rounds to drop back to three under and one under, respectively.

Billy Horschel birdied the 18th to move into a share of the lead

Billy Horschel birdied the 18th to move into a share of the lead

Scottie Scheffler is fourth on five under after tying for the round of the day with a 68, while fellow American Gary Woodland is a shot further back.

McIlroy could be paired on Sunday with fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who shot a 69 earlier in the day to also finish on three under.

Hovland had looked certain to take the lead into the final round after an eagle from a green-side bunker at the sixth helped leave the Norwegian 10 under at the turn.

Viktor Hovland holed a bunker shot to make an eagle in The Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament.

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Viktor Hovland holed a bunker shot to make an eagle in The Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament.

Viktor Hovland holed a bunker shot to make an eagle in The Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament.

However, four bogeys on the back nine saw the world No 4 spurn his advantage, as his American rivals were able to find more consistency in the tough conditions.

In contrast, Horschel never looked likely to hold the overnight lead, but three birdies on the back nine, including a putt from the fringe at the hugely challenging 18th, ensured his place in Sunday’s final pairing.

He’ll play alongside Gooch, who overcame a topsy-turvy front nine to hold the lead after back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16, before a bogey at the 18th dropped him back to seven under.

Talor Gooch produced a steady even par round in tough conditions

Talor Gooch produced a steady even par round in tough conditions

McIlroy appeared to have put a poor start behind him when back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 brought him back to one over for the day, but a double bogey followed at 16 after a wayward drive went out of bounds.

The world No 5 threatened to bounce back once more with a birdie at the 16th, but further bogeys at the final two holes left him with plenty of work to do on Sunday.

“It’s so tough out there. It’s so tricky. It’s just on knife’s edge,” McIlroy said.

“You’re literally talking, like, two feet here, two feet there from 200 yards can make a huge difference in where the ball ends up.”

Watch the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Sunday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 5.30pm.

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