Rory McIlroy shot a final-round 64 and closed with five birdies on the last six holes to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by three shots on Sunday afternoon at Bay Hill.
The 28-year-old's first win as a TaylorMade staffer — he signed a multi-year equipment deal last May — came with a couple new additions to the bag, including a new Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 70X shaft in his TaylorMade M3 460 driver that helped him average an impressive 316.5 yards off the tee and record the second-longest drive of the week at 373 yards.
But it was McIlroy's work with former TOUR winner Brad Faxon and a new TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto prototype putter that made the biggest difference at Bay Hill. Up until this week, McIlroy struggled to find any consistency with the putter through his first four TOUR starts since the beginning of the year.
With only a few weeks to go before the Masters, McIlroy opted to overhaul the flat stick and go back to something familiar. Along with lengthening the putter to 34.24 inches, McIlroy returned to an Anser-style head shape with a slant neck and removed the firmer aluminum insert for a softer surlyn version.
Speaking with Faxon at the beginning of the week, McIlroy tried to free himself up by relying less on alignment and more on his instincts and feel.
"It sort of lets me just be a little more comfortable with it," McIlroy said of the new putter. "I'm not quite as sort of stiff and wooden and, so, yeah, just a couple little things and basically just went back to a length and a sort of feel that I have had success with."
McIlroy led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, picking up more than 2.5 strokes on the field, on average, per round.
Here's a look at McIlroy's entire TaylorMade setup.
Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro Orange 70X shaft), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M3 (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 80X shaft), 15 degrees
5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 80X shaft), 19 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-iron; True Temper Project X 7.0 shaft), TaylorMade P730 "Rors Proto" (5-9; TrueTemper Project X 7.0 shafts)
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 52 and 58 degrees; True Temper Project X 6.5 shafts), TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees; True Temper Project X 6.5 shaft)
Putter: TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto Prototype
Ball: TaylorMade TP5X (#22)
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