Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stenson and DeChambeau share "Arnold Palmer Invitational" lead

ORLANDO, Florida: They’ve been on different sides of the course for two days here at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, but Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau have certainly been on the same page.
Try 12 birdies for the big Swede and 14 birdies and an eagle for the former U.S. Amateur champion. Pretty much having their way with things at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard, Stenson added a 3-under 69 to his opening 64 to get halfway home in 11-under, tied with DeChambeau (67-66).
If the Thursday noise belonged to Stenson, Friday was more about DeChambeau. He made an early bogey, then birdied five times in a 10-hole stretch starting at the par-5 fourth. Shaking off a bogey at the par-3 14th, DeChambeau hit his second shot to 7 feet and made eagle at the 497-yard, par-5 16th. A closing birdie got him even with Stenson, who was finishing at about the same time on the other side of the course.
DeChambeau credited a good week of rest after withdrawing from last week’s Valspar Championship, but Stenson had a time-honored explanation: “Putting, more than anything.”
Indeed, his great work Thursday could have been squandered away in his opening nine holes in Friday’s winter chill, only Stenson converted testing par saves of 5 feet at the 15th, 7 feet at 16, 15 feet at 17 and 5 feet at 18.
“I scrambled for par after all those holes after hitting some not so good golf shots,” said Stenson, who has four top 10s here, but is looking for his first win.


Wearing several hats: Sporting the famed Arnold Palmer umbrella logo on his shirt and hat, Rickie Fowler is clearly invested in this tournament. Just don’t suggest the “host” duties have been a hurdle. “It’s been fun being able to be here and represent Arnie and be one of the hosts,” said Fowler, who added a 71 to an opening 67 and at 6 under is five off the lead.
Veteran’s corner: Davis Love III, Paul Goydos and Ernie Els combine for 154 years in the life department and 68 starts here at Bay Hill. It seems to be helping, too, as they each made the cut. Els, 48, shot 69-70, in his 23rd start; Love, 53, went for 73-71 in his 26th appearance; and Goydos, 53, making his 19th start, shot 70-74.
But at the other end of the spectrum: The only two amateurs in the field made the cut – Doc Redman (72-72) and Collin Morikawa (72-72).
Don’t look now, but . . . Young Sam Burns is at it again. The former LSU star breezed into the weekend on the strength of 69-70 as he continues his stellar play. He was T-8 at the Honda Classic and T-12 at Valspar last week. He needs 88 non-member edExCup points to secure temporary membership, which translates into at least a four-way tie for sixth. A top 10 would get Burns into next week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Scots Martin Laird (72-70 for 142 and T31) and Russell Knox (74-71 for limit mark of 145 and T66) both made the cut.
But Luke Donald (79-74 for 153) missed it by miles.
Top Brit: Justin Rose (69-71 for T17 on 140: same as Tiger Woods 68-72) 
Another Englishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick missed out with scores of 76 and 71, as did Irishman Shane Lowry (75-72)
Former Masters champion Danny Willett withdrew. Sic transit gloria.


Best Arnold Palmer imitation: How can you not like what Sam Saunders brought to Round 2? Having opened with a 77, Palmer’s grandson was miles off the cutline – especially when he bogeyed the par-4 11th, his second hole. He then birdied six of the next 14 holes to get to even par and inside the cut, before a bogey-bogey finish left him outside.
Best par: It’s hard to ignore Tiger Woods’ effort at the par-4 15th. With his approach buried under the lip of a bunker and having very little green to work with, Woods somehow blasted out, then drained a 22-footer to stay 3-under.
Longest putt: David Lingmerth made a putt of 59 feet 10 inches to birdie the par-4 third.
Longest drive: Adam Scott hit one 354 yards at the par-5 16th, though he couldn’t convert the ensuing 15-foot eagle try.
Straightest shots: Both Stenson and Love lead the way, having found the fairway with 24 of their 28 tee shots.





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