Friday, January 19, 2018
Golf

Duo tied for Bay Hill lead; Tiger 4 back

ORLANDO — Bill Haas wanted to atone for how he finished his opening round. He did that and more Friday and was tied for the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Not the case for Tiger Woods.

One shot out of the lead with three holes to play, Woods closed with three bogeys to fall four back going into the weekend. That makes the chore a little more difficult in his bid to defend his title at Bay Hill and return to No. 1 in the world.

"The good news is we've got 36 holes to go," Woods said. "We've got a long way to go. And certainly four shots can be made up."

Haas not only kept bogeys off his card, his longest putt for par was no more than 4 feet in a clean round of 6-under 66. He was tied with Justin Rose, who was poised to take the outright lead until he was fooled by the speed of the greens after late-afternoon showers and finished with a three-putt bogey for 70.

They were at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of John Huh (69).

The finishing holes have proved pivotal in the first two rounds. Haas was challenging for the lead Thursday when he flew his tee shot into the back bunker on the par-3 17th and had to two-putt from 40 feet for bogey. Then he three-putted from 8 feet on the 18th for bogey to ruin his day.

"So to leave, basically giving two away, my goal today was try to get those two back and go from there," Haas said.

Rose went eagle-birdie on the 16th and 17th holes that sent him to an opening 65, and he regained the lead Friday with a 4-iron just off the fringe for a simple birdie on 16. But after a burst of rain, he thought the green might be slower than it was on his 25-foot birdie try. He ran it 5 feet by the hole and missed it coming back.

"But that was the only thing that hampered the day, really," Rose said. "All in all, exciting day and I'm in a good position."

Woods hit the ball better in the second round and had to settle for a higher score, all because of his finish.

He had about 210 yards from a fairway bunker on the par-5 16th and caught it heavy, slamming the sand with his club even before the ball took one hop and tumbled into the creek short of the green. He pitched up to 25 feet and took bogey. Then, he turned over his tee shot on the 17th and wound up in the rough well behind the green, and his chip went all the way through the green.

Woods followed that with a tee shot into the rough that forced him to play short of the water, and he hit a poor chip to about 30 feet. He missed that for 70.

"I've made my share of mistakes on the last few holes the last couple of days, and I need to clean that up," Woods said.

LPGA: Beatriz Recari shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to take the lead after two rounds at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif. Her 8-under 136 gave her a one-stroke lead over Paula Creamer (68) and Karrie Webb (70). Tampa resident Kristy McPherson was at 2-over 146. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (73—152) and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (78—154) failed to make the cut.

Champions: Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Corey Pavin and Roger Chapman shot 3-under 69 in light rain to share the first-round lead in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier, Miss.

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