ORLANDO — Adam Scott was feeling ill when he arrived at Bay Hill. One majestic round with the putter Thursday made him feel a lot better.
Scott made five putts from about 20 feet or longer, two of them for eagle and one from off the green for birdie, and matched the course record with 10-under 62 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
"I made a lot of putts, and a lot of putts from considerable length," Scott said.
It was the lowest round in 30 years at Bay Hill, good enough to make a large gallery following Scott forget for a moment that defending champion Tiger Woods is not here because of a back injury. Andy Bean (1981) and Greg Norman (1984) are the only other players with 62 at Bay Hill.
Ryo Ishikawa and John Merrick are three shots back of Scott at 65. Both were 10 shots behind Scott before they hit their first shot of the tournament.
"That took the pressure off," Merrick said. "You're already 10 shots behind, so it's not like you're protecting anything. But this isn't the Bay Hill I remember. I don't usually play golf in Florida without 20 mph wind."
Bubba Watson withdrew from the tournament after finishing at 83, including three tee shots into the water on the par-5 sixth for an 11. Watson stated on twitter he could not continue because he was suffering from allergies.
Scott said he was coping with flulike symptoms and still doesn't feel completely healthy.
"It's hard to say that I'm sick," he said with a smile. "I feel actually better now than when I woke up. Just a bit under the weather. I can't complain."
The defending Masters champion had not been to Bay Hill in five years, typically playing the Innisbrook tournament in Palm Harbor, but he decided to mix it up. His caddie is Steve Williams, who worked for Woods in six of world's No. 1 player's eight Bay Hill wins.
It was the sixth time Scott has shot 62 on the PGA Tour, most recently in 2011 when he won the WGC-Firestone. But he didn't want to look at it as anything more than just a great start, especially with half of the field still to play in the afternoon.
"Hopefully, with a solid round (today) I keep myself right in this golf tournament," Scott said. "Like at any event, you want to start and put yourself right in it from the get-go, and I've done that here."
Pat Perez opened with 70, ending his streak of nine straight tournaments in which he shot in the 60s the first round.
LPGA: Morgan Pressel's bid for 59 ended with consecutive bogeys, settling for 7-under 65 at the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix. Pressel finished the first round one shot behind leader Miram Lee (64). Inbee Park and Michelle Wie were among eight players at 6-under 66. Brittney Lincicome of Seminole shot 1-over 73.