Sheffield golf ace Matt Fitzpatrick moves into lead at Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick
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Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick claimed a share of the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as pre-tournament favourites Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson struggled to make an impression.

Fitzpatrick carded a flawless 67 at Bay Hill to join Argentina's Emiliano Grillo at the top of the leaderboard, with compatriot Paul Casey a shot behind alongside Lucas Glover and Charley Hoffman.

In contrast, McIlroy's 74 included four bogeys and a double bogey, while Stenson - who has finished in the top 15 in his last five appearances in the event - double-bogeyed the 18th in a 75 matched by Blayne Barber.

The American was a last-minute replacement for Danny Willett after the Masters champion withdrew due to illness.

Fitzpatrick eclipsed Nick Faldo's record as the youngest Englishman to win three times on the European Tour with victory - and the first prize of more than £1million - in the DP World Tour Championship in November, two years to the day after gaining his card via the qualifying school.

The 22-year-old from Sheffield has taken advice from McIlroy on buying property in Florida as he plans to gain his PGA Tour card, a task which would be completed with a win at Bay Hill.

Starting from the 10th, Fitzpatrick followed six straight pars with birdies on the 16th and 18th to reach the turn in 34, before picking up further shots on the first, third and sixth.

Casey played the course the other way round and cancelled out two early birdies with a double bogey on the eighth, but birdied the 10th and then three of the last four holes to complete a 68.

Defending champion Jason Day was part of a large group on two under, with Olympic champion Justin Rose a shot further back.

In an interview broadcast on PGA, Fitzpatrick said: "I played nicely all day, didn't hit too many loose shots and managed to hole a few putts as well, so when it all clicks it's nice.

"I learnt the hard way last year, I didn't hit many greens at all and I was getting up and down from everywhere and managed to still finish tied 27th, so something I had in mind this year was purely to hit more greens.

"In the long run I would love to play more over here as well as keeping my place in Europe but that's something to figure out hopefully if I can get my tour card over here."