Friday, March 16, 2018

Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament

First-Round Notes – Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sunny with a high of 72. Wind WNW 4-8 mph.
      First-Round Leaderboard
Henrik Stenson             64 (-8)
Aaron Wise                   65 (-7)
Talor Gooch                  65 (-7)
Jimmy Walker                67 (-5)
Rickie Fowler                67 (-5)
Bryson DeChambeau     67 (-5)
Asian Players Scores
Byeonghun An                68 (-4)
Hideki Matsuyama          70 (-2)
Whee Kim                       72 (E)

72 Martin Laird (T48)
74 Russell Knox (T86)



Henrik Stenson
A week after missing the cut at the Valspar Championship, his first start of the calendar year, Henrik Stenson opened the Arnold Palmer Invitational with an 8-under 64, his low round in 10 starts at Bay Hill. He has previously shot 66 on three occasions at Bay Hill, both years he finished in the top three.

Stenson’s 8-under 64 is the lowest opening round at Bay Hill since Adam Scott’s 62 in 2014.

This marks Stenson’s sixth first-round lead/co-lead on TOUR. He held on for the win once: the 2013 TOUR Championship.

Between 2013 and 2016, Stenson finished in the top eight at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, highlighted by a runner-up in 2015 and T3 in 2016 T3. He missed the cut in 2017.

Stenson made nine birdies, his most in a round on TOUR. He birdied five in a row (Nos. 9-13), tying his best birdie streak on TOUR (2007 Wells Fargo Championship/R3). A week ago, Stenson made just one birdie en route to his missed cut.

Stenson needed just 20 putts to complete his round, tied for his fewest putts in a round. He missed only one fairway and hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation.

Byeonghun An
South Korea’s Byeonghun An made eight birdies en route to a 4-under 68 for his best opening round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to sit T7 alongside former World No. 1 Tiger Woods.
An started his day with a bogey on the 10th hole before fighting back with birdie on 12, 13 and 16 to turn in 34. His inward journey proved to be a roller-coaster as he carded five more birdies, three bogeys and one par over his last nine holes.
This is An’s fourth appearance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where his best finish was T36 in 2016. He finished T49 last year and missed the cut in 2010. His opening 68 today was just a stroke higher than his career low round at Bay Hill which he recorded during the third round in 2016.
Chasing a first victory on the PGA TOUR, An missed the halfway cut at last week’s Valspar Championship. He has finished T5 at The Honda Classic and T11 at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES at home this season and currently ranks 85th on the FedExCup standings.
Aaron Wise
Making his first start in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, PGA TOUR rookie Aaron Wise recorded six birdies and an eagle for a 7-under 65, one behind Henrik Stenson.

Wise was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but moved to the United States at age 3. Wise won the 2016 NCAA Individual title at the University of Oregon.

Wise has one top-10 on the PGA TOUR: a T10 at the 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. This is Wise’s best position after any round on the PGA TOUR.

Wise earned his 2017-18 PGA TOUR Card by finishing 18th on the 2017 Tour Regular Season money list after winning the Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kansas, setting the Tour’s all time-scoring mark for 36 holes after back-to-back rounds of 62.

Talor Gooch
PGA TOUR rookie Talor Gooch fired a bogey-free 7-under 65, tying his career-best low round on TOUR. His 7-under 65 comes in his tournament debut.

The Oklahoma State University grad secured his TOUR card with a sixth-place finish on the Tour Regular Season money list thanks to his win at the 2017 News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Gooch has posted three top-25 finishes in 12 starts this season, most recently finishing T20 at the Genesis Open. He entered this week on the heels of two straight missed cuts.

Jimmy Walker
On the 18th hole at Bay Hill, Jimmy Walker holed-out for eagle from 132 yards with a wedge. It marked the first eagle at the 18th in 20 years. The finishing hole ranked as the fourth toughest 18th hole on PGA TOUR last season, playing +0.283 over par.
Last three eagles at Bay Hill No. 18
Jimmy Walker
Dan Forsman
Robert Gamez
R4 - Won

Walker is playing Bay Hill for the first time since 2013 (T8), his lone top-10 in four starts.

The six-time PGA TOUR winner earned his first top-10 on TOUR in more than a year with a T8 showing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

Tiger Woods
In his 18th career start in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and first since 2013, Tiger Woods made six birdies and one double bogey to open with a 68. Woods is a combined 112-under par at the tournament, 34 strokes better than the next best player, Vijay Singh (78-under par).

In six of his eight career victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods has led the field for par-5 scoring. Most recently, he outperformed the field by 11 strokes on the par 5s in 2013. He birdied all four par 5s today, the first time he has birdied all par 5s in a round on TOUR since round two of the 2015 PLAYERS Championship (courses with four par 5s).

On the seventh hole, Woods holed from 71’3” for birdie. Woods made 63’5” of putts when on the green today.

Until his 12th hole of the day where he made a double bogey-6, Woods had played a stretch of 25 holes without a bogey, dating to the final round of last week’s Valspar Championship, where he finished T2.

Bay Hill is one of three courses Woods has eight wins, including Torrey Pines, home of the Farmers Insurance Open, and Firestone CC (South), home of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. No player in PGA TOUR history has ever recorded nine wins at one venue.

Additional Player Notes
A week after finishing T2 at the Valspar Championship, Patrick Reed opened with a 4-under 68 and is T7. Reed is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the first time since 2014. His record includes a MC in 2013 and T52 in 2014.

Rickie Fowler, who is serving on the Arnold Palmer Invitational host committee, opened with a bogey-free 67. Fowler has six previous starts at Bay Hill, including his best finish, a T3 in 2013. That year, he was paired with Tiger Woods in the final round.

Rory McIlory was on his way to a bogey-free round before taking a provisional on the 18th resulting in a double bogey-6. McIlroy posted a 3-under 69, his first under-par round in his last seven rounds on TOUR (The Honda Classic/T59, Valspar Championship/MC).



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