You had to know, Bill Haas made host Arnold Palmer very proud on Friday at The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. The young Wake Forest alum(Arnie went to Wake Forest) shot an early -6 under par 66 on a pretty tough layout at Bay Hill to grab a share of the 36 hole lead. In fact, Haas put up the score early, to give overnight leader, Justin Rose something to shoot at. Rose had the outright lead before the rain came down in buckets while he played the 18th hole, and ran his birdie putt some six feet past the cup, and missed the come-backer.
Bill Haas was bogey free, playing in the morning cool conditions, and was able to knock down an eagle three at the par five 16th hole. Haas teed of on the back nine, and made the turn at four under par. He played flawlessly on the front, picking up two more birdies on the way in. Haas said in an interview after he signed for the 66, that he has had to adjust his attitude, and needed to start enjoying the game more. Obviously, he’s been talking to Tiger Woods, or maybe the host himself.
Justin Rose, who has set the tone for this tournament, and playing with the defending champion, had a bit of bad luck coming in on Friday. A light sprinkle turned into a deluge for the 10 minutes that Justin was waiting to hit his approach shot on 18, and totally changed the characteristics of the greens. His approach shot caught some water between the face of the club, and the ball, taking any spin off the shot. He stated in his post round interview that the greens had changed since the rain, and he just hit his putt too hard.
Rose would finish his second round with a -2 under par 70 for the day. He wll be joined in the final group on Saturday with Haas. John Huh, who also had a pretty good day, shot a -3 under 69 on the day, and took sole possession of third place only one stroke back.
“The good news is we’ve got 36 holes to go,” said Woods who struggled at times with his putting, taking 28 in all for a second day in a row but also missing three from inside 10 feet. “I’ve sort of made my share of mistakes on the last few holes the last couple days, and I need to clean that up.”
Defending champion, Tiger Woods is in a group at -5 under par that includes Mark Wilson, and Vijay Singh. Woods missed a couple of short putts early on, as he teed off with Rose, and Ernie Els on the front nine, but managed a birdie at the first hole, and an eagle three at the sixth hole, where he rolled in an unbelievable putt.
The seven time winner of the King’s tournament, hit a snag on the back nine, where after a couple of birdies at the 11th and 13th holes, began to fall apart on the final three holes.
“He was a couple away from a 64,” said Justin Rose, who played alongside Woods and shares the lead with Bill Haas at 9 under entering the weekend.
His problems started when he hit his drive into the fairway bunker on 16, and his foot slipped on the subsequent shot, sending his ball into the water. He managed to get a look at a par putt, but missed. He double-crossed his tee shot at 17, and missed long, and left, and was unable to get up and down.
“I played way better than what I scored today,” Woods said. “I missed a couple of short ones, and I had a rough finish.” ”The good news is we’ve got 36 holes to go,” Woods said. “Certainly four shots can be made up.”
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