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Golf: American Matt Every leads No. 1 Rory McIlroy by one at Bay Hill

Matt Every's two career PGA Tour wins both came at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Matt Every's two career PGA Tour wins both came at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 6 (UPI) -- American golfer Matt Every led Rory McIlroy by one stroke after the first round of the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Every carded a 7-under par 65 in the first round Thursday at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. The two-time defending champion sits at No. 309 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

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"I just didn't want to shoot myself out of the tournament with the way the weather was," Every told PGATour.com. "The putter was a little shaky. It's always a little shaky. It was a good day for me."

McIlroy -- the No. 1 golfer in the world -- shot a 6-under par 66 in the first round.

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Every birdied three of his first four holes. He also made birdie on No. 8 and turned in a 4-under par 32 on the front nine. He birdied three more holes on the back nine to finish 3-under par down the stretch. McIlroy tallied five birdies and an eagle, but carded a bogey on No. 11.

Talor Gooch was 5-under par in the first round and sits in third place. There are eight players tied for fourth place. World No. 3 Brooks Koepka is tied for 45th after carding an even-par 72. No. 9 Patrick Reed fired a 2-under par 70 and is tied for 18th after the first round. No. 10 Tommy Fleetwood struggled with a 3-over par 75 on Thursday at Bay Hill.

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Francesco Molinari is the defending champion of the tournament. The Italian golfer withdrew from this year's tournament due to a back injury.

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The 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational ends Sunday.

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