Rory McIlroy comes to terms with challenge of completing career grand slam

Rory McIlroy comes to terms with challenge of completing career grand slam

English professional Tommy Fleetwood and four-time PGA Tour victor Keegan Bradley share the top spot as the field heads into moving day.

Cabrera-Bello - a three-time European Tour victor but seeking his maiden PGA Tour crown - started his day with birdies on four of his first six holes to jump out to an early lead.

Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello narrowly missed a hole-in-one on his way to taking a two-shot lead in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida on Thursday.

"I think the governing bodies are a very easy target right now and it's very easy for people to jump on the bandwagon and criticise, but all these entities in golf are not trying to do anything bad for the game, they're trying to help the game in some way", McIlroy added.

The Northern Irishman's only blot in his round was a bogey at the par-four eighth but, after six successive pars, the four-time major champion finished with three further gains, including a closing birdie, and he was particularly pleased with one facet of his game.

Starting on the tenth tee just after 7 a.m., the 34-year-old Spaniard birdied four of his first six holes, to shoot 32 on his first nine.

"Bay Hill played quite tricky this morning, quite cool starting out and just enough breeze to make every shot challenging".

The double-bogey included a freaky attempted recovery shot, with the left-handed Mickelson switching to a right-handed stance in a failed attempt to play his way out of trouble when his tee-shot ended up nestled against a fence alongside the left fairway. Day was coming off a three-week break.

"Apart from (the fourth through sixth holes) I actually played quite well today", Leishman said.

"It's a penalizing course if you don't hit very good shots, and I hit some awful shots today", Mickelson said.

Five players were tied for third after carding four-under-par 68s - Graeme McDowell, Patrick Rodgers, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel.

"I had come off a bogey at one, so wasn't really happy on the (second) tee", he said.

Earlier in the day, the event took another loss as former world number one Jason Day withdrew because of a back injury.

"My back was sore when I was practicing from Tuesday to Saturday, and I was going to practice on Sunday, but I woke up and couldn't really walk or sit in the auto, " said Day, who has a history of back issues.

British Open champion Francesco Molinari, Honda Classic victor Keith Mitchell and Billy Horschel led a pack of players at 5-under 139. "It just wasn't going to work out".

"I said to Matty, "Let's birdie the two par-5s, get two more and try shoot even". He had five top-15 finishes in five starts this season.

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