Adam Scott followed his course-record 62 with a 4-under-par 68 and built a seven-stroke lead over J.B. Holmes, Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari of Italy halfway through the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club in Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
Scott, who with a victory in this event will be No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings when he defends his Masters title in three weeks, carded six birdies and had an eight-stroke lead until missing a six-foot par putt on the 18th hole.
“The challenge might be just to start again and try to play a great 36 holes,” said Scott, who tied Bay Hill’s 36-hole record of 130 set by Tom Watson and Andy Bean in 1981. “Start fresh and try to be the leader after the next 36.
“This course will really start to bare its teeth. Hopefully, if I can I can keep striking the ball like I am, I’ll give myself enough chances for birdie — and hopefully, more birdies than bogeys.
“Seven shots over two days is not enough. I don’t think you can ever be enough in the lead, to be honest.”
The 26-year-old Hadley, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory earlier this month in the Puerto Rico Open played opposite the WGC-Cadillac Championship, grabbed his share of second by posting a bogey-free 68.
Holmes, who has won twice on the circuit but not since the 2008 FBR Open, overcame a double-bogey 6 on the 11th hole when he hit his second shot into the water and followed an opening 68 with a 69.
Molinari, a three-time winner on the European Tour who has yet to win in the United States, holed his third shot for an eagle on the sixth hole en route to a 70 after starting with a 67.
Keegan Bradley recorded a 67 and was tied for fourth with Jamie Donaldson of Wales, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffman, who all checked in with 71s.