Making his sixth consecutive start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bill Haas improved on an opening-round, 3-under 69 with a bogey-free, 6-under 66 in round two. In the 16 competitive rounds played at Bay Hill prior to round one yesterday, Haas had posted just one score in the 60’s.
Haas’ best finish in this event is a T17 in 2010. Last year, he finished T29. He is in search of his fifth PGA TOUR win and first since the 2012 Northern Trust Open.
In seven starts this year (prior to this week), Haas has collected top-10 finishes in his last three starts. His only missed cut came at the Humana Challenge.
Haas has previously been a leader/co-leader following a round on the PGA TOUR 10 times, two of which were 36-hole leads. The only lead he converted into victory was the 2010 Viking Classic, an event he won in wire-towire fashion. Haas and his wife, Julie, are eight weeks away from the birth of their first child, a boy, to be named William.
Making his fourth start of the season this week, Justin Rose is looking for a third-consecutive top-10 finish. Two weeks ago, he finished T8 at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, a week after taking T4 honors at The Honda Classic.
Rose is making his ninth start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he has collected two top-10 finishes (T3/2011 and T8/2006). Last year, he opened with a pair of 69s, but followed with a 74-73 on the weekend to finish T15.
Rose is in search of his fifth PGA TOUR title and first since the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship. Rose has previously been a leader/co-leader 32 times after a round on the PGA TOUR, 10 of which have been after 36 holes. Of his 36-hole leads, two have resulted in victory (2010 AT&T Championship, 2011 BMW Championship).
Since moving to Bay Hill in 1979, 15 36-hole leaders have converted for victory, including the last three champions. So far this season, six of 11 have taken a second-round lead into the winner’s circle. Tiger Woods most recently achieved the feat at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Of his seven Arnold Palmer Invitational wins, this week’s defending champion has come from behind after the second round three times. In 2001, he was two shots back and T7 after the second round. In 2008, he trailed by seven strokes and was T20 through 36 holes. In 2009, Woods headed into the weekend alone in fifth place, five strokes back. At T7 after 36 holes this week, Woods will begin the weekend at 5-under and four strokes back.
An eighth win for Woods this week would tie the PGA TOUR record held by Sam Snead (Greater Greensboro Open) for the most wins at a single event. Snead won the Greensboro event in 1938, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1960 and 1965.
Woods has seven wins at four different PGA TOUR events. Sam Snead is the only golfer to ever record eight wins in a single event (Greater Greensboro Open).
• Arnold Palmer Invitational (2000-03, 2008-09, 2012)
• World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
• Farmers Insurance Open (1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013)
• World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship (1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013)
In addition to Woods with his seven titles, the only other players with multiple victories at the event are Tom Kite (1982, 1989), Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Ernie Els (1998, 2010). Woods missed a 2 foot, 1 inch birdie on the second hole today, just his third miss inside three feet at Bay Hill since 2003. Entering the week, he was 390 for 392 inside three feet here. Speaking of 2003, Woods made a 20 foot, nine inch par putt on the third hole in round two, the longest par saving putt he’s made at Bay Hill also since 2003.
Coming into this week, Woods was a collective 108-under in 15 professional starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Through two rounds, he has extended that to 113-under.
With a victory this week, Woods (10.3483) can overtake Rory McIlroy (11.5013) for the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking. Woods has not held the top spot since October 30, 2010.