Bay Hill provided a few dramatic turnarounds, good news for Henrik Stenson, not so much for Phil Mickelson.
Through it all, Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley kept a steady march of solid golf Friday in Orlando and wound up tied for the lead at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, four shots clear of anyone else going into the weekend on a course that has been tough all week.
Fleetwood used two new clubs to produce two eagles, which carried him to a 6-under-par 66. Bradley made all but one of his six birdies on the par 4s and had a 68. They were at 9-under 135, the highest score to lead Bay Hill after 36 holes since 2013.
Tiger Woods wound up winning that year, which won’t be the case this time. He is home nursing a sore neck.
Mickelson hit two bad drives — one out of bounds, another into water he couldn’t see off the tee at No. 8 — that led to double bogeys. With only one birdie on his card, Mickelson was 10 shots worse than his opening round and posted a 78. He missed the cut by one shot.
On the other side was Stenson, who opened with a 77 and then headed to the range with swing coach Pete Cowen. The former British Open champion responded with a 66, an improvement that left him eight shots behind.
British Open champion Francesco Molinari, Honda Classic winner Keith Mitchel and Billy Horschel led a pack of players at 5-under 139.
Defending champ Rory McIlroy shot 70, leaving him seven shots behind.
PGA Tour Champions: Scott McCarron closed with a birdie for a 7-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead with Fran Quinn in the Hoag Classic in Newport Beach (Orange County).
European Tour: South Africans Justin Harding and George Coetzee share a one-shot lead at the Qatar Masters in Doha with France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vega after all three shot 4-under 68 for the second straight round.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Tommy-Fleetwood-Keegan-Bradley-tied-for-lead-at-13675282.php.