Golf-pro Rory McIlroy followed Tiger Woods' lead on Thursday, playing his "best round this year" at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. According to the NY Post, McIlroy posted a 6-under-par 66 while playing in the morning wave of tee times. This "best round" allowed him to take a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau — who was 5-under 67 — as the afternoon players were just starting to tee off.
"I’ve watched Tiger enough here over the years and the way he played this course was he played it very conservatively, he took care of the par-5s, and that was usually good enough to get the job done," McIlroy said after his round. "So, (I) sort of take a little bit of a leaf out of his book. I feel like you don’t have to do anything special to shoot a good score here."
He added, "You can be really conservative off the tees if you want to be. There’s a bunch of irons that you can hit off tees (and) take care of the par-5s. I think the toughest thing about this course is the par-3s and I played them in 3-under today, so that was a bonus."
McIlroy has finished in the top six the past four times he's played at Bay Hill, and in 2018 he won the tournament. This is something he would be happy to do again. "I’ve always felt comfortable here," he said. "I think that I saw a stat the other day that this course more than any other one the PGA Tour the correlation between strokes gained off the tee and performance at this course is higher than anywhere else and obviously myself, and Bryson (and I) are No. 1 and 2 in strokes gained off the tee for the seasons and we both shot two good scores today."
McIlroy's big day comes as, Woods, his friend and fellow pro-golfer, is recovering from a terrible one-car accident in February. Woods was driving in Los Angles when, reportedly, he suddenly crossed several lanes of traffic and crashed. The incident only involved Woods vehicle and no other individuals were injured. The sports icon is said to have a long recovery ahead of him, with a source close to Woods telling Us Weekly that he is "lucky to be alive."