When he was out almost nine months recovering from reconstructive surgery, his first victory back was at Bay Hill when he made a 15-foot birdie for a one-shot victory over Sean O'Hair.
The smile was quickly back on the 14-time major winner's face as he birdied the fourth and sixth, both par fives, and it remained firmly in place as he followed a poor tee shot on the par-three seventh by holing from 70 feet for an unlikely birdie. "I'm not quite as sort of stiff and wooden, just a couple little things and basically just went back to a length and a sort of feel I have had success with".
"Worked on my swing a little bit, found a feeling, found something I could go with into this week and hopefully beyond", McIlroy, who tied for fourth at the event previous year, told NBC Sports.
"This is probably a controversial comment but I think if he had never gone to a gym he would have played way better the last five years", Miller, as if reading from a script from 2016, said as McIlroy prepared to hit his approach shot to the par-4 18th hole at Bay Hill.
Fowler immediately slipped back with a long-range three-putt bogey at the 13th, with Stenson edging back ahead with a close-range gain on the par-five 12th. "That was a nice one", the former world No 1 said of the birdie.
Henrik Stenson led by one shot entering the final round of the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational 2018 today (Sunday, March 18) in Florida. "I'll hopefully be within two or three of the lead, and I can make a run at it". "I thought it was going a little too much, but stayed up there and went to seven feet and I was able to knock it in".
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The Co Down man (28) holed 110-feet of putts on the slickest greens seen on the USA circuit this year, rattling in eight putts between six and 25 feet en route to a two-under 70.
Four-time major victor McIlroy, who has dropped from the top of the rankings to 10th, said he felt "really positive" heading into the tournament. A year later, Stenson was tied for the lead on the back nine until dropping two shots and tying for third. Also competing are Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.
"Today was a bad day", he said afterward.
Woods trailed after 36 holes in four of his eight victories at Bay Hill, including a seven-shot deficit in 2008. He at least managed to birdie the par 5s on the back, and had a tough par save on the 15th.
Told that Las Vegas oddsmakers were making him the Masters favorite based on his past week's performance, Woods said, "A lot of gamble-holics out there."We have a long way to go".