ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose and Bill Haas are your co-leaders halfway through the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The pair is at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of the reigning rookie of the year John Huh. Here’s 5 Things you need to know from the second round at Bay Hill:
1. TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADERS: Rose shot 70 Friday to maintain the lead he grabbed ahold of after his first-round 65. A three-putt at his final hole Friday kept him from taking the outright lead into the weekend, though.
“I second-guessed that putt down the hill a little bit on the speed once the rains fell,” Rose said. Rain started falling during his closing holes Friday afternoon. “But that was the only thing that hampered my day, really. I’m in a good position.”
Rose has finished in the top-25 in 12 consecutive worldwide starts. He’s No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Haas is a Wake Forest alum, just like the tournament host. Haas has never finished better than 17th here. Before this week, he had broken 70 just once in 16 rounds at Bay Hill.
“I didn’t know the media tent was, I’ve never been in here,” Haas said after shooting 69-66. “Never had that much success here, but I’ve always enjoyed coming.”
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2. TOUGH FINISH: The rain fell on Tiger Woods’ parade Friday afternoon at Bay Hill. Woods was just one shot off the lead with three holes remaining in his second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Then the rain started falling harder and Woods, who played alongside Rose, made bogey on the final three holes.
Woods has won seven times at Bay Hill, and twice this season. “The good news is we’ve got 36 holes to go,” Woods said. “We’ve got a long way to go. Four shots can be made up.”
He went for the par-5 16th green in two shots from a fairway bunker, but chunked his shot into water fronting the green. He pulled his tee shot well left on the par-3 17th, chipped to 20 feet and missed the par putt. He laid up on the par-4 18th after hitting his tee shot into the right rough.
“Sixteen was unfortunate. Seventeen, I made a bad swing, and 18 I made a bad swing,” Woods said.
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3. QUICK FIX: Jimmy Walker started working with Butch Harmon about a year ago for one simple reason. “His resume speaks for itself,” Walker said. “You have to keep improving as a player because everyone else is.”
Walker opened the Arnold Palmer Invitational with consecutive 69s to put himself in contention for his first PGA Tour victory. He’s four shots behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Bill Haas.
Harmon gave Walker a simple tip that has paid off this week at Bay Hill. “He told me to keep my midsection, keep my belly button behind the ball on the way down,” said Walker, who has a tendency to get ahead of the ball early in his downswing, then back out of the shot as he nears impact.
Walker hit 9 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens in each of his first two rounds at Bay Hill.
Walker, 34, has made the cut in all seven starts this season, finishing in the top 30 in all but one event. He finished fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open and third at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The latter matched his best career finish. He also finished third at the 2010 Valero Texas Open.
Walker is No. 78 in the Official World Golf Ranking after starting the season at No. 120; the top 50 after next week’s Shell Houston Open earn Masters invitations.
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4. BUBBA’S BIG SHOT: Many golfers have grandiose ideas when they step up on a tee, thinking they can carry a bunker or the finger of a water hazard. That’s just natural, its golf.
But for Bubba Watson its clear no bunker or water hazard is an issue after another example of the length the Masters champion possess.
In Friday’s second round, Watson took on the large pond that the fairway at the par-5 sixth hole wraps around. His 340-yard tee shot left him just 162 yards into the 530-yard hole.
“It was far, but it wasn’t the farthest I’ve ever hit there,” Watson said. “I’ve had it 70 yards to the green before. The wind was right today, I was battling to make the cut. I hit it hard. It probably only went 340. I flew it I think 330. It was 322 to carry on the line I took it, so I just had to hit it as hard as I could possibly hit it.”
Watson made birdie at the hole Friday. He shot 74-71.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Ken Duke (70-68) could use a big check. He’s made $35,065 in seven starts this year. He had six top-10s in 2012, making $1.5 million. … Charles Howell III, No. 57 in the Official World Golf Ranking, shot 73-69. Howell, an Augusta native, is still in search of an invitation to this year’s Masters. The top 50 in the OWGR after next week’s Shell Houston Open earn Masters invitations. No. 63 Luke Guthrie shot 67 Friday and is at 4-under 140. … J.J. Henry shot 67 Friday to move into fourth place. Henry, who won last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open, has made six consecutive cuts, but hasn’t finished better than 39th in a full-field event this year. … Ryo Ishikawa shot 69-77. It wasn’t as bad a fall as Charley Hoffman’s, who shot 69-79. … FedEx Cup points leader Brandt Snedeker, making his first start since his AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am victory, missed the cut after consecutive 76s. Kevin Chappell missed the cut, but had a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole. He shot 79-72. He made just three birdies in two rounds.
– Alex Miceli contributed