Thursday 22 February 2018

Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick move into contention at Bay Hill

Rory McIlroy hit a seven-under par 65 in round three to move into contention
Rory McIlroy hit a seven-under par 65 in round three to move into contention

Tyrrell Hatton hit a five-under par 67 to move alongside fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick tied for third place heading into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman hold a three-stroke lead.

Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler both gave themselves hope of a late charge on Sunday after recording the equal best round of seven-under 65.

Fitzpatrick, who was seventh in the Masters last year and made his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine, had struggled for consistency earlier in the day, as he dropped shots on the first, third and eighth holes.

However, two birdies then saw him through the back nine at 37 and he picked up another shot on the par-3 17th to end the round level and eight under after 54 holes.

Hatton, meanwhile, produced his best round of the tournament to climb 10 places.

The 25-year-old from High Wycombe recovered from a bogey on the par-three second to add four birdies ahead of the turn. More dropped shots cost him at 11 and 15, although Hatton was able to salvage a competitive round after two more birdies from the closing four holes.

Kisner made up a three-stroke deficit with a 68, which could have been lower but for a bogey on the 18th.

Overnight leader Hoffman finished one-under for the day after recovering from two bogeys on the opening holes and again on the back nine to sign off with three birdies, which included a monster 71-foot putt from the fringe of the green on the 18th.

Australian Marc Leishman is alongside Hatton and Fitzpatrick after a third-round of 71 which started and finished with a bogey.

Earlier in the day, McIlroy made full use of the improved conditions to fire himself up the leaderboard, the world number three tied for eighth on six under.

Fowler, meanwhile, is a stroke further back after his 65 sent him up 47 places to joint 11th, alongside England's Justin Rose and Paul Casey.

McIlroy, the four-time Major winner, hit two birdies on the front nine and then five more after the turn, including three on successive holes from the 10th.

"Today presented us with a chance to go low, it was warmer with not much wind and the course played a bit shorter as well, so you could take advantage of the par-fives," McIlroy told

" Hopefully I can be in with a shout and then if I get off to a fast start tomorrow, I can be right in there, so I just have to keep it going."

It could have been an even better day for American Fowler, who dropped an early double bogey on the par-four third hole, only to then sink three successive birdies to recover and complete the back nine in 35.

Fowler, the world number nine, picked up four more strokes - while also saving his par from the water at 11, trousers rolled up to the knees - and then landing an Eagle put on the par-five 16th.

"I swung well in warm up this morning, and felt this one was coming back where it needed to be. I just stayed patient and got a few to roll in," said Fowler, who had started the day some 12 shots off the lead.

Elswehere, defending champion Jason Day could only manage a 75 to sit at even par.

Emiliano Grillo had a round to forget. The Argentinian shot a quadruple bogey at the par-five sixth as he finished with a 78, having been the tournament leader after 18 holes and in second place at nine under overnight.

Press Association

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