BILL Haas wanted to make up for his bad finish in the opening round at Bay Hill. He did that and more last night. Haas kept bogeys off his card for a 6-under 66, taking a one-shot lead among the early starters in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Haas not only hit 15 greens in regulation, he didn’t have a putt for par longer than four feet. He was at 9-under 135 going into the weekend, one shot ahead of John Huh, who had a 66.
Justin Rose, the first-round leader after a 65, and Tiger Woods were among those playing in the afternoon as the temperatures finally warmed.
Haas was challenging for the lead on Thursday until he had to settle for par on the easy par-5 16th. He hit into a back bunker on the par-3 17th for a bogey and finished his round with a three-putt bogey from 8 feet.
“So to leave, basically giving two away, my goal today was try to get those two back and go from there,” Haas said. “That was kind of my mindset today, and then I was able to keep it going.”
Phil Mickelson four-putted from 5 feet on the 13th hole for triple bogey and his hopes of making the cut ended when his tee on the ninth went out of bounds. He closed with a triple bogey and a 79, his highest score ever in 48 rounds at Bay Hill.
“There is a huge discrepancy between the low scores and the high scores,” he said. “Obviously, I played terrible and I deserved to shoot a score like this. But I felt like if I hit good shots, I could make birdies.”