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McIlroy (69) looks solid one week after Valspar MC

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Moments after missing the cut last week at the Valspar Championship Rory McIlroy didn’t sound like a man on the verge of a breakthrough.

“It's hard because when I play my weeks off or practice, it feels pretty good,” said McIlroy, who carded rounds of 74-73 at Innisbrook Resort. “When I get out on to the course it isn't quite the same.”

On Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he seemed like a different man, which should have been no surprise considering he rebounded with an opening 69 at Bay Hill.

“I came into this week feeling much better about my game than I was going into Tampa last week, you saw some of it out there,” said McIlroy, was 5 under par and just three strokes off the lead before a wayward drive at the last led to a double bogey-6. “It was much better than the golf that I've been able to produce the last couple weeks.”

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Although it was his swing that concerned McIlroy last week at Innisbrook, he said he spent the last few days at his south Florida home working on his putting. Specifically, he said he wanted to be more creative on the greens.

“Just playing around with it. Seeing balls go in in the front edge, trying to hit them in the left edge, the right edge, hit them off the back of the cup,” said McIlroy, who statistically had his best putting round of the year with 2.69 strokes gained: putting. “Just trying to get a little bit more feel into it and a little more flow.”