Henrik Stenson opened with an 8-under par 64 and will take a one-shot lead into Friday’s second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Stenson signed for a card comprised of just one bogey against nine birdies, highlighted by five-straight on hole Nos. 9-13. The Swede missed just one fairway, and needed only 20 putts en route to the day’s low-round at Bay Hill.
“It’s a good golf course for me, this one, you’re going to get rewarded if you hit a lot of fairways and greens and staying out of trouble and I guess that’s why I had four top-10s in four years running before last year,” said Stenson.
A pair of little-known rookies in Taylor Gooch and Aaron Wise were one back at 7-under par 65.
Gooch’s card was clean with seven birdies, while Wise reached 65 by offsetting one bogey with six birdies and an eagle.
On the 18th hole, Jimmy Walker holed-out for eagle from 132 yards to sign for a 5-under par 67.
Walker’s eagle was the first at the 18th in 20 years. The hole ranked as the fourth toughest finishing hole on the PGA Tour last season, playing +0.283 over par.
“Just played super solid. Lots of good tee shots, played to the corners, just tried to hit a bunch of greens, that’s kind of it,” said Walker.
“Just hoping to make a few putts, greens are rolling very, very nice, it’s been awhile since I played here and the golf course is in phenomenal shape and it was chilly this morning, it’s turning out to be an amazing day.”
The winner of the 2016 PGA Championship sits T4 alongside Rickie Fowler, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Tiger Woods headlines a group of six more players tied at 4-under par.
Starting on the back nine, Woods made birdies on 12, 13, and 16 to turn at 3-under 33. A wayward tee shot on the par-4 third hole (his 12th) landed OB, and led to a double bogey.
But Woods quickly recovered, offsetting the dropped shots with three birdies in a four-hole stretch (Nos. 4-7), highlighted by a 71-foot bomb on the par-3 seventh hole that sent the Bay Hill galleries into a frenzy, and briefly had the eight-time API winner atop the leaderboard.
“I always liked playing here. This golf course, it sets up well to my eye and I’ve had some success here,” said Woods, who birdied each of four par 5s.
“I’ve had some success under different conditions too, so that’s always kind of a feather in the cap when I come to a golf course where I’ve had some success over the years, this is one of them.”
Brian Harman, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel,Byeong Hun An, and Patrick Reed were the others at T7.
1 Henrik Stenson -8
2 Aaron Wise -7
2 Talor Gooch -7
4 Jimmy Walker -5
4 Rickie Fowler -5
4 Bryson DeChambeau -5
7 Patrick Reed -4
7 Tiger Woods -4
7 Byeong Hun An -4
7 Billy Horschel -4
7 Brian Harman -4
7 J.B. Holmes -4
13 Justin Rose -3
13 Tommy Fleetwood -3
13 Rory McIlroy -3
22 Bubba Watson -2
22 Hideki Matsuyama -2
22 Marc Leishman -2
32 Alex Noren -1
69 Jason Day +1
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