ORLANDO, Fla. – Adam Scott keeps putting his name in the Bay Hill record book, each round moving him closer to another handshake with The King.
One day after Scott opened with a record-tying 62 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he hit his stride around the turn Friday with five birdies in an eight-hole stretch to leave everyone else far behind. Even with a three-putt bogey on his final hole, Scott still had a 4-under 68 for a seven-shot lead.
He was at 14-under 130, matching the 36-hole record at Bay Hill first set by Tom Watson and Andy Bean in 1981. And his seven-shot margin at the halfway point shattered the previous record held by Tiger Woods in 2002 and Paul Azinger in 1988.
Scott sounds like he’s not the least bit satisfied.
“The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes,” he said. “Start fresh and try to be the leader after the next 36.”
That would merit a visit with Arnold Palmer, the tournament host known simply as “The King” in golf circles. Scott has spoken glowingly all week about his first invitation to Bay Hill when he was 20. Walking off the first green, Palmer was in a cart to greet him with a handshake, and Scott was amazed that Palmer knew his name.
Now he’s the Masters champion, and the 33-year-old Australian is playing like one.
J.B. Holmes (69), Chesson Hadley (68) and Francesco Molinari of Italy (70) were tied for second at 7-under. Keegan Bradley had the low score of the blustery second round with a 67, putting him in a group at 138 that included Brandt Snedeker (71) and Jamie Donaldson of Wales (71).
Pressel chases 59, settles for 65: Morgan Pressel had a befittng start at Wildfire Golf Club.
She was 6 under after six holes, then 9 under through 11.
Golf’s magic number of 59 – accomplished only on the LPGA Tour by Annika Sorenstam in 2001 at nearby Moon Valley – was in range and word spread quickly Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup.
“I don’t know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span,” Pressel said. “I just got a little bit quick and came back to earth.”
She did, bogeying the next two holes and closing with five pars for a 7-under 65 that left her a stroke behind first-round leader Mirim Lee.
Couples shoots 66, takes lead: Fred Couples shot a 6-under 66 to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.
The 54-year-old Couples continued his run of good play after winning the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., last weekend. He has also had recent success at Fallen Oak, winning in 2012.
Jeff Maggert shot a 68 in his Champions Tour debut, joining Kenny Perry, David Frost, Jay Haas and last year’s tournament champion Michael Allen in second place.
Couples started the day on No. 10 and made five birdies over his first eight holes. It was Couples’ 12th straight round in the 60s on the Champions Tour, one shy of the record set by Hale Irwin in 1999.
Wheatcroft 4 back: Washington’s Steve Wheatcroft shot an even-par 70 in the second round of the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship and is four strokes behind co-leaders Aron Price and Scott Parel.