Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matthew Fitzpatrick alone atop leaderboard on moving day

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Matthew Fitzpatrick (Getty Images)

There was plenty of movement in the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a reason why Saturday’s are dubbed “moving day.”

There was a new leader after 54 holes and nearly an entirely new top 10 as men played their way through Bay Hill Golf Course honoring the late Palmer.

Matthew Fitzpatrick didn’t have the lowest round of the day, but his 5-under 67 was enough to propel him to the lead (9 under), edging out defending champion Rory McIlroy. The two will play together in the final pairing on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick was mistake-free on the course and fired off five birdies, including two in the last four holes. The English golfer has never won a PGA Tour event, but has a strong record on the European Tour with five wins. 

“It’s a lot different over here, I feel,” Fitzpatrick said after his round, via Golf Digest. “(It’s a) different atmosphere, different styles of golf course, different fields. It’s exciting, I’ve put myself in a good position, so I’m looking forward to it.”

McIlroy was the clubhouse leader after carding a Saturday low of 6-under 66. He climbed a whopping 29 spots to enter the final round in contention. He had four birdies in the first six holes and three more after the turn. A bogey on the par-4 8th stained his scorecard and put him one stroke behind Fitzpatrick in solo second place (8 under).

“It’s great, he’s defending champion, he’s got a ton of fans over here,” Fitzpatrick said of being paired with McIlroy on Sunday. “I’ve become good friends with him, [I] moved down to Jupiter [Fla.] for the winter months and I’ve spent a good bit of time with him there. It will be a fun day.”

Kevin Kisner stayed put in third place (7 under) and was joined by Australian professional Aaron Baddeley and English pro Matt Wallace, who both shot rounds of 3-under 69.

Chris Kirk, Luke List, Charles Howell III and Rafa Cabrera-Bello all climbed up the leaderboard and into sixth place (6 under). Keegan Bradley, who was tied for the lead entering Saturday, joined them after his front nine was riddled with five bogeys. 

Tommy Fleetwood, who shared the 36-hole lead with Bradley, fell into a tie for 11th place (5 under) after carding three bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 10th. He is joined by the likes of Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer.