Briton Justin Rose returned a seven-under 65 to grab the first-round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday, while Tiger Woods got his bid for an eighth Bay Hill title off to a solid start.
Helped by a red-hot putter, 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.”
“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 capitalized with the putter today. That’s as good of a putting round I’ve had in a long, long time.”
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-five 16th and four straight birdies from the fourth to leave him two clear of American John Huh.
Huh spoiled an error-free round and missed a chance to join Rose atop the leaderboard when he bogeyed his final hole, the par-four ninth, after dropping six birdies for a 67.
Lurking a further stroke back on 68 are American John Rollins and Canadian Brad Fritsch.
Woods, who can reclaim the No. 1 world ranking from Rory McIlroy with a win tomorrow, was not at his best, but battled to a three-under 69 to headline a pack of 10 golfers four shots off the lead.
Woods feasted on Bay Hill’s par-fives, 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 is a staggering 118-under on the Bay Hill par-fives over his career. “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,” the 14-time major winner said. “I’ve had a few courses like that, and, fortunately, this is one of them.”
FedExCup points leader Brandt Snedeker, returning to action after missing five weeks with a rib injury, showed plenty of rust as he carded a four-over 76 that included a triple-bogey six at the par-three 17th.
Els, twice a winner at Bay Hill, sat out last week with a hip ailment and also struggled to a three-over 75. However, after dropping five shots on his opening five holes, the former Open champion recovered slightly from his horrific start by mixing three birdies with one bogey the rest of the way.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on