ORLANDO — Adam Scott keeps putting his name in the Bay Hill record book, each round moving him closer to another handshake with The King.
One day after Scott opened with a record-tying 62 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he hit his stride around the turn Friday with five birdies in an eight-hole stretch to leave everyone else far behind. Even with a three-putt bogey on his final hole, Scott still shot 4-under 68 for a seven-shot lead at 14-under 130, matching the 36-hole record at Bay Hill first set by Tom Watson and Lakeland's Andy Bean in 1981. And his seven-shot margin at the halfway point shattered the previous record held by Tiger Woods in 2002 and Paul Azinger in 1988.
"The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes," Scott said. "Start fresh and try to be the leader after the next 36."
That would merit a visit with Arnold Palmer, 84, the tournament host known simply as "The King" in golf circles. Scott has spoken glowingly all week about his first invitation to Bay Hill when he was 20. Walking off the first green, Palmer was in a cart to greet him with a handshake, and Scott was amazed that Palmer knew his name.
Now he's the Masters champion, and the 33-year-old Australian is playing like one.
J.B. Holmes (69), Chesson Hadley (68) and Francesco Molinari of Italy (70) were tied for second at 7 under. Keegan Bradley had the low score of the blustery second round with 67, putting him in a group at 138 that included Brandt Snedeker (71) and Jamie Donaldson of Wales (71).
"I think I'm 10 behind and playing pretty well for two rounds," said Snedeker, who was off by two. "He's playing pretty phenomenal. … A guy that hits it as good as he does and seems to have a complete game like he has, and the way he's playing now, he's not going to come backward."
Scott played in the afternoon, when the course began to get firm under two days of full sunshine, and the pace on the greens began to quicken. No one got closer than his three-shot lead to start the round.
"This course will really start to bare its teeth," Scott said. "I've got to take in the attitude of starting over again and trying to play a really hard 36 holes. And hopefully, if I can I can keep striking the ball like I am, I'll give myself enough chances for birdie — hopefully, more birdies than bogeys."
At one point, caddie Steve Williams was about 275 yards down the left side of the fairway on the par-5 16th. His boss was barely visible back on the tee, but Williams watched his swing and instantly said, "Perfect." And that it was, 325 yards right down the middle.
Scott missed only two fairways and has taken just 52 putts over the first 36 holes.
LPGA: Mirim Lee remained atop the JTBC Founders Cup leaderboard in her third tour start, shooting 5-under 67 to reach 13-under 131 after the second round. The 23-year-old South Korean had a two-stroke lead over 16-year-old Lydia Ko (66).
Champions: Fred Couples shot 6-under 66 for a two-shot lead after the first round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier. The 54-year-old continued his run of good play after winning the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., last weekend. Jeff Maggert shot 68 in his senior tour debut, joining Kenny Perry, David Frost, Jay Haas and Michael Allen in second place.