Bill Haas, Justin Rose tied atop Bay Hill
Tiger Woods can’t close
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Bill Haas wanted to atone for the way he finished his opening round. He did that and more Friday and was tied for the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando, Fla.
That sure wasn’t the case for Tiger Woods.
One shot out of the lead with three holes to play, Woods closed with three sloppy bogeys to fall four shots behind going into the weekend. That makes the chore a little more difficult in his bid to defend his title at Bay Hill and return to No. 1 in the world.
‘‘The good news is we’ve got 36 holes to go,’’ Woods said. ‘‘We’ve got a long way to go. And certainly four shots can be made up.’’
Haas not only kept bogeys off his card, his longest putt for par was no more than 4 feet in a clean round of 6-under-par 66. He was tied with Justin Rose, who was poised to take the outright lead until he was fooled by the speed of the greens after late afternoon showers and finished with a three-putt bogey for a 70.
They were at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of John Huh, who had a 69.
The finishing holes have proved pivotal in the opening two rounds. Haas was challenging for the lead on Thursday when he flew his tee shot into the back bunker on the par-3 17th and had to two-putt from 40 feet for bogey. Then, he three-putted from 8 feet on the 18th hole for bogey to ruin his day.
Rose went eagle-birdie on the 16th and 17th holes that sent him on his way to an opening 65, and he regained the lead Friday with a 4-iron just off the fringe for a simple birdie on the 16th. But after a burst of rain, he thought the green might be slower than it was on his 25-foot birdie try. He ran it 5 feet by the hole, and missed it coming back.
‘‘But that was the only thing that hampered the day, really,’’ Rose said. ‘‘All in all, exciting day and I'm in a good position.’’
Sixteen players were separated by five shots going into the weekend, and the question was how much fire the downpour at the conclusion of Friday would take out of Bay Hill.
Ken Duke (68), J.J. Henry (67), and Jim Walker (69) were at 6-under 138. Woods was right behind, along with Mark Wilson and Vijay Singh, who each shot 68. Rickie Fowler had a 67 and joined the large group at 4-under 140.
Phil Mickelson four-putted from 5 feet on the 13th hole for triple bogey, and whatever hopes he had of making the cut ended when his tee shot sailed left on No. 9 and went out of bounds. Mickelson closed with a triple bogey and a 79, his highest score ever in 48 rounds at Bay Hill.
European — Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat topped the Malaysian Open leaderboard at 10 under with nine holes to play when the second round was suspended because of darkness at Kuala Lumpur.
Champions — Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Corey Pavin and Roger Chapman shot 3-under 69 in light rain to share the first-round lead in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Saucier, Miss.
LPGA — Beatriz Recari shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb after two rounds in the Kia Classic at Carlsbad, Calif.