McIlroy remains on Hoffman’s shoulder

Rory McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy.
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American Morgan Hoffmann continued to set the pace at the top of the leaderboard in the 
Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday, but had world No 1 Rory McIlroy among his nearest challengers at Bay Hill.

Hoffmann fired nine birdies and two bogeys to add a 65 to his opening 66 and set the clubhouse target on 13 under par, five ahead of McIlroy, who carded five birdies in succession during his 66.

McIlroy had not broken 70 on the PGA Tour in 2015 before 
yesterday and needed to save par from greenside bunkers three times to cover the back nine in 
34 after birdies on the 10th and 16th.

However, the four-time major winner clicked into top gear after the turn, holing from 18 feet on the second, six feet on the third and seven feet on the fourth before a superb approach to the fifth left him just inches from the hole.

The 25-year-old then got up and down from another bunker on the par-five sixth for his fifth straight birdie and the streak only came to an end when he narrowly missed from 35 feet on the next.

Denmark’s JB Hansen claimed the clubhouse lead in the Madeira Islands Open before more bad weather forced play to be suspended for the day.

The tournament had already been reduced to 54 holes after winds gusting up to 47mph meant no play was possible on Thursday, and more strong winds yesterday caused a delay of almost two hours.

When play finally did get under way, Hansen carded a bogey-free 68 at Santo da Serra to lead by one from England’s Andrew Marshall and French pair Adrien Saddier and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.

Howley Haall’s Marcus Armitage led the contingent of Yorkshire golfers after carding an impressive 71.

Elsewhere, Chris Hanson, was two-under after six holes when play was suspended.

Hull’s Richard Finch has plenty to do after scoring 78.