Rory McIlroy enters the mix Saturday at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Putting has been an issue for Rory McIlroy in 2018, but it looks like he's figuring it out this week at Bay Hill where he fired a 67 on Saturday and will go into the final round trailing leader Henrik Stenson by just two strokes.
By
Edgar Thompson and Mike Bianchi
The Orlando Sentinel

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 | 12:03 p.m.

What better time for Irishman Rory McIlRoy to find his game than on St. Patrick's Day.
 
"I think St. Patrick's Day is bigger over here than in Ireland," said McIlroy, who shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday and is two shots off the lead going into Sunday's final round. " ... I think you guys definitely take it to another level. ... I saw a lot of green today."
 
He also found a lot of greens, which is a welcome change from last week when he missed the cut at the Valspar Championship. In four previous starts this year, McIlroy has missed two cuts and shot in the 60s in only three of his 13 overall rounds.
 
But Sarturday the four-time major champion recorded a 5-under par 67 during the third round at Bay Hill, his lowest round in five events this season on the PGA Tour.
 
Perhaps the difference has been a meeting earlier this week with Brad Faxon, one of the most accomplished putters in golf history. The two met for a few hours down where both live in Palm Beach Gardens.
 
 
McIlroy entered The Arnie ranked 124th on Tour in strokes gained putting, but this week he is second after finishing his first three rounds at The Arnie with 24, 27 and 25 putts over three rounds, respectively.
 
McIlroy, who tied for fourth at Bay Hill a year ago, enters Sunday's final round two shots behind leader Henrik Stenson.
 
"It was more of a psychology lesson than anything else," McIlroy said of his meeting with Faxon. "Brad's one of the best putters to play on the PGA Tour, so it was great to be able to pick his brain for a couple hours. "... Maybe I've been getting bogged down a little bit too much in mechanics, trying to hit perfect putts instead of -- you know, the hole is quite wide, you don't have to hit perfect putts for it to go in. So just trying to be a little imperfect, just be a little more freer."
 
Rose outplays Woods
 
If it were a Ryder Cup match, it would have ended after the 17th hole.
 
Even with Tiger Woods' 18th-hole birdie Saturday at Bay Hill, Englishman Justin Rose got the best of his playing partner. The world's fifth-ranked player was sharper with his irons and more solid with his putting, despite a three-putt on the 15th hole.
 
Rose missed just three greens in regulation and needed 26 putts to post a 5-under par 67 to Woods' 69 during the third round. The 37-year-old is showing good form as he approaches the April 5-8 Masters, where he lost in a playoff last year to Sergio Garcia.
 
Rose, a one-time Orlando resident, is top-3 finisher twice at Bay Hill (2011, 2013) and would like add the API to his eight PGA Tour wins.
 
Last week in Tampa, he played in the final pairing but finished tied for fifth. But Rose said he is playing better this week.
 
"Today was the first day in a while that I've really played well, hit every shot solid, and took the range form to the course," he said. "Hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow."
 
This article is written by Edgar Thompson and Mike Bianchi from The Orlando Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.