Henrik Stenson, Bryson DeChambeau share 36-hole lead at Bay Hill

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Henrik Stenson, Bryson DeChambeau share 36-hole lead at Bay Hill

PGA Tour

Henrik Stenson, Bryson DeChambeau share 36-hole lead at Bay Hill

ORLANDO – Henrik Stenson is from Sweden, but he lives in Orlando now and has admittedly gone soft. He’s not really feeling early tee times in brisk environments like the one that welcomed him Friday, and if he were playing for fun rather than a $1.6 million dollar first-place prize he probably would have waited things out.

“This morning would have been definitely a couple of hot chocolates and sitting out for half an hour,” said Stenson, who teed off No. 10 shortly after 8 a.m.

It took him 13 consecutive pars to warm up before a three-hole birdie stretch at five, six and seven to hold on to a share of the 36-hole lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Bryson DeChambeau shot 6-under 66 and is tied with Stenson at 11 under entering the weekend at Bay Hill. Talor Gooch is alone in third at 9 under, Byeong Hun An is fourth at 8 under and Charley Hoffman is fifth at 7 under.

Stenson and DeChambeau are set to tee off at 1:55 p.m. Saturday to begin Round 3.

“I think every week I’m good enough to win or play my best,” said DeChambeau, who picked up his first career victory last year at the John Deere Classic. “It’s just sometimes a kick here, a break here, and that’s just what happens. You don’t always get a sky ship rocketed up to the top of the leaderboard like I have.”

DeChambeau’s round included six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle at the par-5 16th hole after hitting his second shot to just 7 feet. Stenson shot 3-under 69 and has turned things around quickly after a missed cut last week at the Valspar Championship, where he played with Tiger Woods in Rounds 1 and 2.

Woods was just one shot off the lead when he completed a 4-under 68 early Thursday morning, but he was seven shots back when he began Round 2 Friday afternoon with Stenson already in the house at 11 under.

That’s where he remained after an even-par 72 that included two birdies, two bogeys and few highlights for those who don’t drool over tricky par saves. Woods is 4 under for the tournament and seemed a bit off from the get-go on Friday.

“Today was just a bad day,” Woods said. “I didn’t really feel all that comfortable with a lot of my motion today. It wasn’t sharp, it wasn’t crisp, and I think it was contagious in the whole group. We all mishit a lot of golf shots in our group. But we all hung around and we grinded out a score.”

Rickie Fowler, another fan favorite at Bay Hill, is 6 under and T-6 in a group that includes Billy Horschel, Luke List, Patrick Reed and Ryan Moore.

Rory McIlroy, who also missed the cut last week at the Valspar, is six shots off the lead at 5 under and hoping to make a move in front of what should be a very lively St. Patrick’s Day crowd Saturday in Round 3.

“Henrik’s playing great, I’m going to have to play very, very good golf on the weekend to catch him,” McIrloy said. “But I’m in a better position this Friday than I was last Friday, so I’ll take anything I can get.”

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