One shot often can change a round. Vaughn Taylor is the latest proof of that.
Taylor scored the 13th hole-in-one in the history of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard when he aced the 191-yard seventh hole Friday at Bay Hill. The eagle helped Taylor shoot a two-under-par 68 and lift him into the top-10 on the leaderboard through 36 holes at two-under 138.
“It was a perfect six iron really,” said Taylor, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who finished third at Bay Hill in 2007. “I took just a little bit off of it, and the wind was just pretty much straight down. I hit just an absolutely perfect, right on line the whole way, and it landed about 15, 18 feel short, and I think it rolled in like a putt. It was one of those that was perfect the whole way.”
Taylor, who scored his fourth career ace, said he didn’t actually see the shot drop. “I saw the crowd’s reaction and figured it out,” he said.
The ace was just the second to occur at Bay Hill’s seventh hole in the history of the event – and the second in a row there, following Marc Turnesa’s five-iron hole-out in the fourth round last year.
The 17th hole has been aced the most in tournament history, five times, with Don Pooley’s being the most memorable. His four-iron in the final round of the 1987 edition was worth $1 million, half of which went to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women.
England’s Ross Fisher was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. He had made a bogey-four on the par-three 14th hole but signed for a three. Little did it matter; his 79 had left him well below the cut at 155.
Vijay Singh, the 2007 champion, made his 17th consecutive cut after shooting a second-round 70 Friday. Singh, battling a back injury he suffered earlier in the week, has never missed the cut at Bay Hill. The reigning FedExCup champion is at four-over 144.
While his younger and more acclaimed countryman, Ryo Ishikawa, was sent home, Ryuji Imada leapt up the leaderboard with a four-under-par 66 that allowed him to pass Tiger Woods into a tie for third place with Robert Allenby. Imada bounced back after bogeying two of his first five holes.
“Got off to a real bad start, and I was thinking about the cut line. All of a sudden I made some good birdies … and here I come,” said Imada, who last year won his first PGA Tour title at the AT&T Classic. “[It was] just one of those days when golf felt easy.”