* -7: J Rose (Eng)
* -5: J Huh (US)
* -4: J Rollins (US), B Fritcsh (Can)
* Selected others:
-3: T Woods (US)
* -1 : L Westwood (Eng)
* Even: I Poulter (Eng) G McDowell (NI)
ORLANDO – 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 capitalised 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 number one world ranking from Rory McIlroy with a win on Sunday, 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.
Rose outshines Woods to grab lead at Bay Hill