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Rory McIlroy Emotional in Arnold Palmer Invitational Win

Rory McIlroy played possum and sneaked up on everybody to claim the title in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill.

The come-from-behind win was due to some majestic golfing from the 28-year-old Irishman as he birdied five of his last six shots. Tiger Woods, for his part, came just one shot off the lead before finishing fifth.

Henrik Stenson, the paceleader for the first two rounds, dropped to fourth place.

McIlroy debuted at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was three years ago, and he considered it one of highlights of his career when the late golfing superstar had acknowledged his talents. Palmer died in September 25, 2016 from a cardiovascular disease.

That was also the day when McIlroy claimed the Tour Championship.

“I wish he would have been at the top of the hill to shake my hand when I came off the 18th green there,” the Hollywood, County Down native told reporters. “But hopefully, he’s proud of me with the way I played that back nine.”

McIlroy said his gameplan in the final rounds was just to stay aggressive with his shots. He said that strategy came straight out of Palmer’s playbook.

“It’s come full circle since that day in September in 2016, and just proud to be sitting up here and have my name on that trophy,” he added.

The win also serves as warning to the rest of the professional golfers. After a winless 2017, McIlroy is back to claim his stake as the world’s No. 1.

But there’s another big-name player who feels that he deserves that spot more than anybody. Woods said that he’s “extremely pleased” that he’s progressing more quickly than anybody anticipated.

“If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year that I would have had a chance to win two golf tournaments, I would have taken that in a heartbeat,” Woods, who finished eight strokes behind McIlroy said.