|Arnold Palmer First round invitation ranking|
|-seven M Every (United States); -6 R McIlroy (NI); -5 T Gooch (United States), S Scheffler (United States); -4 S Burns (United States), C Bezuidenhout (SA), T Hatton (United States), B Todd (United States), K Mitchell (United States), G McDowell (NI)|
|Others selected: -3 M Wallace (Eng), I Poulter (Eng); -2 M Fitzpatrick (ing), P Reed (United States); -1 D Willett (ing); +1 J Rose (Eng); +2 P Harrington (Ire), L Westwood (Eng); +3 R Knox (Sco)+5 A Scott (Aus), P Mickelson (United States)|
World number one Rory McIlroy is on a whim after the Arnold Palmer Invitational’s first round in Florida following a 66 under six.
The Northern Irishman, who won the event in 2018, started from the 10th hole and patented an eagle and five birdies.
Matt Every, whose two PGA Tour titles came to this event in 2014 and 2015, leads after a 65 without a bogey.
Tommy Fleetwood, who missed his first PGA Tour victory last week after bugging the last one, opened with a 76.
Florida native Every, 36, ranked 308 places lower than McIlroy, missed last week’s Honda Classic cup after a second run of 85. “Sometimes I’m really good, sometimes I’m really bad”, he admitted.
Tyrrell Hatton is the best-placed Englishman after five birdies in a 68, joined by Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell who completed a 20-foot birdie last in difficult late afternoon conditions, with Matt Wallace a little further after having started from the 10th with four successive birdies.
McIlroy is leading the PGA Tour overall with 68.205 this year and finished in the top five of the six events he has contested this season.
The four-time winner, whose last tournament victory came at WGC-HSBC champions in Shanghai in November, dropped his second hole after finding water, but had seven hits in his last 12 holes.
After a three-foot approach to the first, he played a magnificent three-iron at 23 feet from a fairway bunker at 587 yards by five fourth and rolled in the putt for an eagle.
Eight-time event winner Tiger Woods is absent this week and playing on a very tight schedule before defending his Masters title next month, while reigning champion Francesco Molinari withdrew due to injury in the back.