Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell fall off pace in Orlando as Francesco Molinari wins Arnold Palmer

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Open champion Francesco Molinari produced a bogey-free eight-under 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by two shots in Orlando as Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell fell off the pace.

McIlroy - one behind going into the final round - had curled in a 15 foot birdie putt at the third to share the lead, but a five-foot birdie chance spun out at the next and he dropped a shot at the par three seventh after missing the green.

The Holywood man had a drive and a wedge at the 501-yard par-five 16th butthe putts would not drop on the final day and his eagle chance also stayed up.

In a poor round he only had two birdies and he tied for sixth at eight under.

And McDowell was one of those with his eyes on an exemption into the Open at Royal Portrush.

But those dreams of a top-10 finish turned into something of a nightmare, as a final round 78 - which included a triple bogey and two double bogeys – saw him plummet down the leaderboard.

McDowell fell down 37 spots to finish in tied-54th on two-over-par 290.

His troubles started early with a double bogey five on the Par 3 second hole after his tee-shot found a rear bunker.

He then ran up a triple bogey eight on the Par 5 fourth after a wild drive right forced him to take a penalty drop for an unplayable lie.

He would suffer another double on the 16th, where he put his approach into the hazard as he finished poorly.