ORLANDO, Fla. — Masters champion Adam Scott was feeling ill when he arrived at Bay Hill. One majestic round with the putter Thursday made him feel a lot better.
Scott made five putts from about 20 feet or longer, two of them for eagle and one of them from off the green for birdie, and matched the course record with a 10-under 62 to build a three-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The conditions were close to perfect. So was his work on the greens.
“I made a lot of putts today, and a lot of putts from considerable length,” Scott said. “I hit a lot of nice shots, too, but it wasn’t like I was hitting it 4 feet (from the hole).
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“There’s a lot of different ways to get the ball in the hole. But it’s good for the confidence. It’s what I wanted. I sat in here yesterday and said I’d like to make some birdies and build the confidence. And today is a good start to that.”
Ryo Ishikawa, who uses Bay Hill as his home course on the East Coast, birdied the 18th for a 65. John Merrick celebrated his 32nd birthday by reaching 8 under until a late bogey. He also shot 65.
Both were 10 shots behind before they hit their first shot of the tournament.
“That took the pressure off,” Merrick said. “You’re already 10 shots behind, so it’s not like you’re protecting anything. But this isn’t the Bay Hill I remember. I don’t usually play golf in Florida without 20 mph wind.”
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano had his best round of the year with a 66. Brandt Snedeker and Paul Casey were among those at 67. They were all but forgotten with Scott’s 62 on the board.
It was the lowest round in 30 years at Bay Hill.
Scott had reason to be mildly surprised by this round. For one thing, he had not been to Bay Hill in five years. Even more surprising, though, is that Scott said he was coping with flu-like symptoms and still doesn’t feel completely healthy.
“It’s hard to say that I’m sick,” Scott said with a smile. “I feel actually better now than when I woke up. Just a bit under the weather. I can’t complain.”
Puyallup’s Ryan Moore was tied for 11th at 4 under. Michael Putnam of University Place was tied for 26th at 2 under.
Pressel in second after a hot start
PHOENIX — Morgan Pressel’s bid for history ended in a tangled desert bush. She settled for the second spot on the crowded leaderboard in the JTBC Founders Cup.
Golf’s magic number of 59 in range after a sizzling start, Pressel had consecutive bogeys and parred the last five holes for a 7-under 65 on Thursday at Desert Ridge.
That left her a stroke behind Mirim Lee.
Pressel reached 9 under through 11 holes.
Defending champion Stacy Lewis, top-ranked Inbee Park, Michelle Wie and 2011 winner Karrie Webb were in the group at 66.