The Upshot: Arnold Palmer Inv't, Rd. 2
March 21, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott shot a 68 in the second round. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Adam Scott has looked every bit the best player in the world through the first two rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
In two more days, he might be.
Scott matched the tournament’s lowest 36-hole score, first set by Tom Watson and Andy Bean in 1981, and his seven-shot lead heading into the weekend obliterated the previous mark at Bay Hill.
Paul Azinger and Tiger Woods were both 4 under in 1988 and 2000, respectively. Each went on to win.
Friday, Scott made five birdies in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round en route to a 4-under 68 on a breezy and difficult day -- the course played nearly 1 1/2 strokes over par.
J.B. Holmes, Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari are a distant second, while five others, including Keegan Bradley, who had the low round of the day with a 67, and Brandt Snedeker, are another stroke back at 6 under. “We're only halfway,” Scott said. “Seven shots over two days is not enough. I don't think you can ever be leading by enough.
“The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes, start fresh, and try to be the leader after the next 36.”
If he is, he would move to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking in two weeks, surpassing Tiger Woods, who withdrew on Tuesday because of lingering back pain. Neither Scott nor Woods is scheduled to play again until the Masters in three weeks.
In the meantime, Scott has his sights set on his first victory since back-to-back wins in Australia last November.
“It feels very much like I was playing toward the end of last year in Australia, where I kind of picked golf courses apart by just hitting fairways and hitting greens, and just waiting for that right number to hit one close,” Scott said. “I'd like to kind of keep that going for the next couple of days and I feel like I'll be in good shape.”
Can anyone catch Adam Scott if he shoots 72-72 on the weekend? If so, who do you think it will be?— Arron Oberholser (@ArronOberholser) March 21, 2014
NA HECKLED BY FANS: After finding himself at the center of a slow-play discussion last week, Kevin Na was heckled by multiple fans throughout his round Friday at Bay Hill.
Eventually, Na called for PGA TOUR rules official Mark Russell in the middle of the first fairway, Na’s 10th hole of the day.
“He was being heckled, which has no place in the game,” Russell said. “We put extra security with him.”
While Na chose not to speak with reporters afterward, saying only that he’d had a long day, his playing partners came to his defense.
“He was standing in the middle of the 13th fairway trying to hit a shot (when someone yelled),” Scott Stallings said. “He was doing the best he could. (The heckling) was all day. He handled it great.”
Added Ryan Moore: “Someone yelled something from way up at the green while he was standing over a shot. You don’t want that to happen. That’s disrespectful to anybody.”
Na shot 1-under 71 and is tied for 24th through two rounds.
GOING HOME EARLY: With Bay Hill playing more than 1 1/2 strokes more difficult than in the opening round, the cut line ballooned to 2 over.
That wasn’t enough for Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose or Lee Westwood, who were among the more notable players to miss the cut.
While it’s the first cut that Fowler has missed since the Northern Trust Open last month, he has broken par just once in his last seven rounds. Friday, he shot a 76 that included four bogeys and one double bogey to miss the cut by three.
Westwood, meanwhile, had five bogeys and a double en route to a 76 to miss by five strokes.
Rory Sabbatini and Jeff Overton are also headed home, though for a different reason. Both withdrew with injuries during the round.
Amateur Nathan Smith, meanwhile, was disqualified after playing a wrong ball from out of bounds on the fifth hole.
Many thanks to Mr. Palmer and all of the folks @APinv! My golf wasn't very good but it's always fun to hang out with "The King" for a week!— William McGirt (@WilliamMcGirt) March 21, 2014
CALL OF THE DAY: Bill Rosinski calls Adam Scott's 30-foot birdie at the 15th hole in the second round of the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Live play-by-play coverage from PGA TOUR Radio streams on Sirius 208, XM 93 and PGATOUR.COM via pgatour.com/liveaudio.
Adam Scott extends his lead at Arnold Palmer