Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matthew Fitzpatrick two shots off lead at Bay Hill

Mar 19, 2017, 00:48
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matthew Fitzpatrick two shots off lead at Bay Hill

But he's gained just over 2.6 strokes on the greens through two rounds, a substantial uptick in efficiency.

Sam Saunders stepped onto the first tee at Bay Hill and flashed a quick thumbs-up to the crowd, the trademark gesture of his grandfather.

Last year's Open victor caromed two approach shots off the rocks and into the drink and then went all Rory-McIlroy-at-Doral with his 3-iron that obviously was the cause of the two splashdowns.

"They're going to be able to give us a true championship test of golf this week", Saunders said.

Faster, firmer fairways will bring into play rough as gnarly as the course has seen in years.

"I started thinking about all the years that I've played in the tournament, and I just started thinking about him driving around in the cart and watching me", Saunders said.

"Anything under par in the morning was great", Day said.

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The pristine yet challenging putting surfaces at Bay Hill will become only slicker and trickier in the warmer weather. But I don't mind that, I think it's quite amusing. "I think it could be all you want".

It could have been an even better day for the American, who dropped an early double bogey on the par-four third hole, only to then sink three successive birdies to recover and complete the back nine in 35. "It's actually made it go by kind of quickly, it's made it flow evenly for me, so it hasn't been a lot of sitting around and feeling emotions, just because I've been so busy, on top of trying to prepare for a golf tournament".

"Making putts anywhere, that helps", he said.

Fitzpatrick's short game also was the key for the day's only bogey-free round.

Hoffman's day got off to an inauspicious start when he bogeyed the opening hole, but that ended up being the only blemish on his card.

Fitzpatrick, who was seventh in the Masters a year ago and made his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine, followed a birdie on the second with his first bogey of the week on the fourth, before adding four birdies and a bogey on the back nine. "I was very lucky today, made a couple of chip-ins". I will never forget the bear hug in front of the clubhouse at Augusta, watching you hit your final tee shot there, and to spending time with you in the locker room at Bay Hill.

"I'm sure that was hard", he said. You look at the grandstands on 18 and you see all the colorful umbrellas and there's so much around here that reminds us of him, so, it will be different.