Friday, June 22, 2018

Jason Day keeps lead on rainy day at Arnold Palmer Invitational

ORLANDO — The words Jason Day has used all week at Bay Hill are what he gets from Tiger Woods whenever they talk about playing with the lead.

Patience. Aggression. Extend the lead. And if you're not on your game, post a good score.

They carried Day to 2-under 70 in rough weather Saturday at the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational, giving him a two-shot lead at 15-under 201 and one more day to show he's a quick study. He has won the past three times he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

"It's a different pressure, but it's a good, uncomfortable feeling that I've always talked about, that I always want in my career," said Day, who led after the first two rounds, too. "Because I know that if I've got that, I have a comfortable feeling that I'm doing it right. And usually I'm around the lead."

It wasn't easy Saturday, even though tee times were moved forward because of a forecast of afternoon storms. Rain, occasionally heavy, did show up, temperatures fluctuated and the wind swirled.

Henrik Stenson (70) caught up and briefly passed him. Troy Merritt (67) and Kevin Chappell (67) hung around.

"I felt like I couldn't get any momentum, especially with the umbrella up and down, the rain gear on and off," Day said. "All that said, I feel like I stayed patient to ground out a 2 under par."

Day finished two shots clear of Stenson, Merritt and Chappell. Justin Rose (71) and Derek Fathauer (69) were four shots behind.

Adam Scott — coming off back-to-back victories on the Florida swing, including last week at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor — was trying to give himself a chance when he was 9 under playing the 18th. He went into the water with his second shot and made triple bogey, posting 70 to fall nine shots behind.

Rory McIlroy doesn't have much at stake, either. Whatever momentum he was trying to find ended with an approach into the water on the 18th (his ninth hole), and he made two more double bogeys on his way to 75. He was 16 shots behind.

Day would love to get back to No. 1 in the world. A victory today would at least get him within range of Jordan Spieth with the Masters approaching. "If I can scratch out a win … it's perfect timing with what's coming around the corner. And we're talking about Augusta," Day said.

LPGA: Second-round leader Sei Young Kim stumbled in the Founders Cup, handing the lead to Eun-Hee Ji and putting Stacy Lewis and many others in far better position than they expected in Phoenix. Three strokes ahead after an eagle on the par-4 13th, Kim bogeyed the par-4 16th and par-3 17th and finished with 2-under 70 to drop into a tie for second with Lewis (64) at 17-under 199, a stroke behind Ji (65). Jacqui Concolino was two strokes back after 68. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (69) was 9 under.

Champions: Scott Verplank shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take the second-round lead at 12-under 132 in the Conquistadores Classic at Tucson, Ariz. Jim Carter (63) and Wes Short Jr. (65) were a stroke back. Bernhard Langer (66), defending champion Marco Dawson (67) and first-round leader Woody Austin (70) were 9 under.

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