Adam Scott’s seven-stroke lead was down to one after five holes, but he righted the ship to shoot 1-under-par 71 and will take a three-stroke lead over Keegan Bradley into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
Scott, who probably will take the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings into his title defense in the Masters in three weeks with a victory at Bay Hill, made bogeys on two of his first five holes before making his first birdie of the day at No. 6.
“They just don’t give you a win on the PGA Tour after 36 holes, you have to earn it,” said Scott, who made a clutch seven-foot par putt on the 18th hole. “I got off to a rough start and was fighting back all day. A lot of guys were playing well.
“But it was fun. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Bradley, looking for his fourth PGA Tour victory and first since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, equaled the low round of the day with a 66 that included eight birdies. He started the back nine with three consecutive birdies and finished his round with three more.
Matt Every, who was born up the road in Daytona Beach and played college golf at Florida, recorded a bogey-free 66 and was four shots back in a tie for third with Jason Kokrak, who made bogey on the first hole before rattling off four birdies in the next five holes en route to a 67.
Chesson Hadley, coming off his victory in the Puerto Rico Open earlier this month, put early pressure on Scott with four birdies in the first six holes. However, he had only one more in a round of 69 and was five strokes behind in a tie for fifth with Francesco Molinari of Italy, who also had a 69, with his only bogeys coming on the first and last holes.