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Rory McIlroy charged into contention at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard with a back nine that began and ended with a pair of incredible accomplishments.

McIlroy was 2-over for the day – and 1-over for the week – when he made the turn Saturday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Then he unleashed a 365-yard drive on No. 10 that made him the first player in the ShotLink era to reach that green from the tee.

Considering the PGA TOUR’s shot-tracking system dates back to 2003, it’s a safe bet that no player has ever reached that green before.

Bay Hill’s 10th hole is a sharp dogleg-right par 4. Players used to lay back to avoid bunkers on each side of the fairway, but in recent years have started to cut the corner by hitting their tee shots over the houses on the inside of the dogleg. McIlroy is the first to drive the green, however.

Last year, McIlroy led the PGA TOUR with an average Driving Distance of 326.3 yards. It was the longest average recorded in PGA TOUR history.

“I’m definitely a good few yards longer over the last couple of years than I have been in the past,” he said. “I thought if I got it in one of the two front traps that would be a good leave to hit something up the green, but, yeah, I wasn’t trying to hit it on the green, but it was nice to walk up and see it on there.”

McIlroy two-putted from 65 feet to make birdie, the first of six birdies he made on the back nine. He saved par on the 11th after driving into the water, then birdied Nos. 12 and 13 and closed his round with three consecutive birdies. His 6-under 30 tied the back nine scoring record at Bay Hill; he is the first player since 2016 to shoot 30 on Bay Hill’s back nine.

McIlroy’s 68 tied the lowest round of the day and left him four shots behind leaders Scottie Scheffler and Shane Lowry. Bay Hill already was living up to its reputation as one of the TOUR’s toughest tracks – it is the only course to rank among the 10 toughest on TOUR in each of the last five seasons – and that was before high winds buffeted the course Saturday afternoon.

McIlroy is trying to end a streak of three consecutive finishes outside the top 20 after finishing first and second in back-to-back events in Dubai to start the year. He said Saturday’s back nine reminded him of his victory at this year’s Dubai Desert Classic, where he shot a third-round 63.

“I won that golf tournament in 27 holes,” McIlroy said. “I shot 9-under on Saturday and 3-under on the front nine on Sunday, and sort of cruised, I didn’t really do much else. When the golf course is playing as tough as this, that’s all, you sort of only need like two really good nine-hole stretches, and then you can sort of play conservative and make a lot of pars the rest of the way.”