Rory McIlroy pleased with start to year despite Bay Hill near-miss
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 20/03/17 6:19am
Rory McIlroy is keen to take positives from a strong showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, despite narrowly missing out on victory.
The world No 3 briefly held a share of the lead during the final round but had to settle for a share of fourth, as Marc Leishman claimed his first PGA Tour title since 2012 with a one-shot win.
McIlroy made a slow start to the week but ended with a sixth consecutive worldwide top-10, following on from a runner-up finish in South Africa and a tie for seventh at the World Golf Championship opener in Mexico.
"I haven't had the win that I've wanted, but it's been good consistent play and that hopefully bodes well for the year ahead," McIlroy said after his round.
"I struggled the first two days here. I found it a little bit on the weekend. I'm just happy that I'm out here playing again and I feel good."
The Northern Irishman began the day five strokes off the pace but saw that deficit reduce to two after following a front-nine 34 with gains at the 10th and 12th.
A bogey at the 14th was cancelled out by a gain at the 16th to briefly move him tied at the top alongside Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman, only for Leishman to eagle the 16th and McIlroy to three-putt the last.
"I thought going out today if I could shoot anything in the 60s, it would be a good score," McIlroy added after his three-under 69.
"Obviously I was trying to shoot a couple lower than that but overall played well, I'm really pleased with how I went this weekend and can take a lot of positives from it.
"It has been a good week and if anything, to be one over after two rounds and come up like this, it's a great weekend.
"I can't complain too much. I had two chances on 17 and 18 there, but hopefully I can get back up on the horse next week and try and get a win at the (WGC-Dell Technologies) Match Play."