Rory McIlroy believes he played a perfect round of golf on his way to securing a return to the winner’s circle at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 28-year-old claimed a first win since the 2016 Tour Championship in stunning fashion at Bay Hill, posting a bogey-free 64 to pull three clear of the chasing pack.

McIlroy began the day two strokes off the pace but surged into contention with three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the sixth, before securing victory with five further gains over his closing six holes.

It was awesome to feel the buzz of being somewhere around the lead going into the back nine and reeling off those four birdies in a row, McIlroy told Sky Sports. I played a perfect round of golf.

I’ve missed it, I really have missed it, and to play the sort of golf that I played today under that pressure, I’m really proud of myself and just so happy to win.

The Northern Irishman’s last worldwide victory came on the day Arnold Palmer passed away aged 87, with McIlroy delighted to take the honours in the event previously hosted by the seven-time major champion.

It’s ironic to think that the last time I won was when Arnie passed away, McIlroy added. To be able to create my own little piece of history on the 18th green here was pretty special.

I’m just so happy to be back in the winner’s circle again and win a tournament that has Arnold Palmer’s name on it, someone that means so much to us in the game of golf.

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(c) Sky News 2018: Rory McIlroy proud of ‘perfect round’ to secure Bay Hill victory