Adam Hadwin denied hole-in-one at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

McIlroy made a significant move on Saturday when shooting 65 and zooming 38 places up the leaderboard for tied-eighth place on six-under par, five adrift of overnight joint leaders Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.

It was another Australian who claimed the title, with Marc Leishman booking an 11th-hour Masters berth with a one-shot victory. There is a three-shot gap to those in third place, a trio headed by English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton.

McIlroy (69) and Hatton (71) were two shots back of Australian victor Marc Leishman, who finished on 11 under par.

An unfortunate bogey on the 18th for McIlroy ended his chance at donning the new Arnold Palmer cardigan handed out to the victor, and a bogey on the 17th by Hoffman meant the only player left with a shot at catching Leishman was Kisner. His longest putt of the year, measuring 51 feet, vaulted him into the tournament lead with an eagle on the par-five.

There was a question that hung heavy in the Florida air about what will happen to this event, which has been a staple on the PGA Tour since 1979, as the years go by without its iconic host. When she was in the hospital was when I was really struggling and when she got out is when she had her problems. "It was a nice day, obviously the putter was there with me all week". "If it was just me, it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun, if they weren't with me". "It's a special week, " said Leishman. This was only his second tournament since fracturing a rib in January and in both he's finished inside the top 10, closing in on the form he hopes to have honed when he arrives at Augusta for the Masters in three weeks.

At stake is a red cardigan sweater, a favorite of Palmer's, which replaces the blue blazer that previously went to the victor.

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Emiliano Grillo probably won't have to worry about that. "I walked up the last and saw that Leishman had eagled 16 and went to 11 [under], so I thought I need to make this to have a chance".

The 29-year-old former Arizona State player shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun by two strokes in record 35.5C heat at Desert Ridge. He wound up with a 78 and fell eight shots back.

That's a big reason why Mickelson, Spieth and Johnson were not at Bay Hill this week. He only needed to finish 41st last week in the Valspar Championship to secure a spot in the Match Play field for next week, and instead missed the cut.

Zach Johnson had a week to forget at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club.

Tournament founder and seven-time major victor Palmer died aged 87, in September and Leishman added: "You always want to win to honour the greats and it's a special year this year".

  • Tabitha Byrd