GOLF ROUNDUP: Rose gets hot at Bay Hill
ORLANDO, Fla. — He didn’t miss a putt inside 15 feet. He watched good shots and answered with better ones. He ran off a string of birdies to pull away.
That’s how Tiger Woods won his last tournament.
This time, he was merely a bystander.
Justin Rose has been working hard on his putting since the U.S. Open last summer, and it paid off in a big way Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. After struggling at the start in chilly, breezy conditions, Rose came to life with an eagle on the 16th hole, four straight birdies on his back nine and a 7-under 65 at Bay Hill.
That gave him a two-shot lead over John Huh.
“Not everything was perfect today,” Rose said. “But the putter was really, really hot. And those are fun days when that happens.”
Woods did more than just watch. He is the defending champion at Bay Hill, and a seven-time favorite, and the guy who brought out thousands of fans in the early morning chill. A win this week would return Woods to No. 1 in the world for the first time in nearly 2? years, though he suddenly is being upon as the best in golf.
He just happened to be second-best in his group on this day.
Woods also had an eagle on the 16th hole, along with four birdies, though he lost momentum with a pair of bogeys at the turn and had his momentum stalled with another ordinary bunker shot that led to bogey. That gave him a 69, which did little to dampen his spirits.
“I kept myself in the tournament,” Woods said.
He overwhelmed the par 5s, as he often does at Bay Hill. Woods made birdie with wedges on three of them, and hit a “baby” 9-iron into about 12 feet on the downwind 16th for an eagle.
He now has played the par 5s in 118-under par in his 61 rounds.
Rose and Woods played in the morning, the tougher side of the draw because of chilly temperatures in the 50s and a strong breeze.
Brandt Snedeker, playing for the first time in five weeks because of a rib injury, took triple bogey on his 17th hole and had a 76.
LPGA: Jane Park shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Caroline Hedwall and Karrie Webb after the first round of the Kia Classic.
Park, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga and went to UCLA, started on No. 10 and made the turn in 2 under at Aviara. After a par on No. 1, she birdied four of the next five holes.
Stacy Lewis, playing her first round since taking over the No. 1 spot in the world from Yani Tseng, was four shots back after a 70. She is trying to win her third straight tournament.
Tseng, the Kia Classic winner last year, was disqualified after oversleeping and missing her pro-am tee time Wednesday.
PGA EUROPEAN: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a 7-under 65 to take the lead in the Malaysian Open lead before thunderstorms forced the suspension of the first round.
Half the field was still on the course.
Edoardo Molinari, Gregory Bourdy and Anders Hansen shot 66, and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson also was 6 under through 10 holes when play was stopped at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Third-ranked Luke Donald opened with a 74.