Golf: Justin Rose’s putter red hot at Bay Hill
ENGLISHMAN Justin Rose returned a seven-under 65 to grab the first-round clubhouse lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, while Tiger Woods got his bid for an eighth Bay Hill title off to a solid start.
Rose outshone playing partners Woods and South African Ernie Els by mixing an eagle and six birdies with a single bogey on a sunny but chilly and blustery day at “Arnie’s place”.
Playing the back nine first, Rose got off to a stuttering start with a bogey at the 11th but it would be his only blemish in an otherwise sparkling round highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 16th and four straight birdies from the fourth to leave him three clear of American John Rollins (68).
“It was a good round of golf, I kept myself out of trouble for the most part which is tough to do here at Bay Hill,” Rose told reporters. “I thought I put together a clever round of golf and capitalised with the putter today. That’s as good of a putting round I’ve had in a long, long time.”
Rose, in fact, had just 25 putts. “That’s been the error of my game since June last year,” he added. “Today was probably the first real hot day I’ve had with the blade in a long, long time.”
He’s been working with putting coach David Orr is paying off. He also tried a new putter at the beginning of the year but switched back his TaylorMade 200 model for the last two rounds of the recent Honda Classic and it has stayed in the bag since then.
Thanks to the work he’s been doing with Sean Foley, the rest of his game is also shaping up nicely with The Masters now less than three weeks away. “We all know it’s about consistency and that’s what I’m still working toward,” said Rose. “It’s just fun to know that I obviously can do it, and I take a lot of confidence from that.”
Woods, who can reclaim the No 1 world ranking from the absent Rory McIlroy with a win on Sunday, was not at his best but battled to a three-under 69 to sit four off the clubhouse leader alongside fellow Americans Charley Hoffman, Nick Watney and Sean O’Hair and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa.
Woods feasted on Bay Hill’s par-5s, carding three birdies and an eagle on the four holes but the defending champion undid much of his good work with back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18. “I certainly didn’t play my best, but I got around and made a few good saves out there,” said Woods, who has two wins in four PGA Tour starts this season. “It was so cool and the ball wasn’t flying, and it presented a pretty good challenge. Days happen like this. It was cool this morning, and it just didn’t work out but I scored well and I kept myself in the tournament.”
With his confidence surging, Woods was unfazed by his uneven play and with good reason having won seven times at Bay Hill. “It’s just one of those courses,” shrugged Woods. “I’ve had a few courses like that, and, fortunately, this is one of them.”
Meanwhile, McIlroy’s decision to skip the event surprised the tournament host. “Frankly, I thought he was going to play, and I was as surprised as a lot of people when he decided he was not going to play,” said Palmer. “I was kind of kidding when somebody said is he playing? And I said, ‘well, if he doesn’t, I’m going to break his arm.’ But it was meant in jest, and it was strictly a passing remark.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West