March 21 2013
Justin Rose has never played better at Bay Hill, as the Englishman zoomed to the top of the leaderboard with a 7-under 65 midway through Thursday's first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
In 30 previous career rounds at Bay Hill, his scoring average is 71.90, just about even par. Until Thursday, his lowest round as a 67 in the second round in the 2009 event. In fact, just five of his previous 30 rounds at Bay Hill had been in the 60s.
"Obviously, anytime you go low at Bay Hill, it's a bonus," Rose told SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio after his round."
After an early bogey, he was in control of his game Thursday, posting six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 16th.
Four of those birdies came in a four-hole stretch on his final nine holes as he separated himself from the rest of the field, including playing partner Tiger Woods, who shot a 3-under 69 in defense of his title.
"Not everything was perfect, I have to say, but the putter was really, really hot," Rose said.