Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy slips back after poor finish

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy's total after three rounds is a nine-under-par 207
Arnold Palmer Invitational third-round leaderboard
-16 Henrik Stenson (Swe), -14 Morgan Hoffman (US), -13 Jason Kokrak, Matt Jones (Aus), Ben Martin (US), Matt Every (US) Selected:-9 Rory McIlroy (NI), -8 Ian Poulter (Eng), -7 Russell Knox (Sco), -1 Paul Casey

Rory McIlroy suffered a poor finish to his third round at Bay Hill to slide seven shots off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

The world number one bogeyed 14, 15 and 16 on his way to a one-under-par 71, which left him seven shots behind Ryder Cup team-mate Henrik Stenson.

"I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed with the way I finished but I played well for the most part," McIlroy said.

Stenson, who is 16 under par, has a two-stroke lead over Morgan Hoffmann.

Swede Stenson, 38, carded his second consecutive six-under 66 and played the last four holes in four under par for the second day running.

Should he hold on, he would be the first player in nine PGA Tour tournaments to convert a third-round lead into victory.

Henrik Stenson
World number three Stenson made an eagle from 20 feet on the 16th

Stenson said: "It just shows it's a tighter game these days, more guys who can win.

"You can't really sit back if you've got a one or two-shot lead. You've got to play a solid round."

McIlroy, in his last outing before the Masters at Augusta next month, was frustrated by his finish.

"I birdied 12 and 13 and got right into the thick of things and then to give three shots back in quick succession was not really the plan," the Northern Irishman, 25, said.

Meanwhile, four-times major winner Ernie Els was cleared after his round of a possible rules violation.

Television footage showed the 45-year-old South African touching his wedge in long grass in a hazard at the par-five sixth hole.

However officials could not determine whether Els grounded his club, which would have resulted in a two-stroke penalty.

The sixth hole was also the scene of a rare albatross, when Daniel Berger holed his second shot from 236 yards.

The American shot a 68 to trail Stenson by nine shots.

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