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March 17, 2018

Stenson Back In Front, But A Shootout Looms

For the second time in four years, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson leads the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard after 54 holes, continuing a string of strong showings here at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. He knows he has unfinished business, but he’s aware that a dangerous lineup of contenders is poised to make a run at him.

With a 1-under 71 on a breezy Saturday, Stenson came in with a 12-under 204 aggregate total, one stroke ahead of Bryson DeChambeau, who had a 72. Prior to missing the cut last year, Stenson ended up in the top 15 in four straight starts on the Championship Course. That includes three top-5 finishes.

“I’ve been up in the mix a few times and we’re there again, so of course I would like to see a different outcome tomorrow,” Stenson said. “But it’s going to take some good golfing and, yeah, I’m back here trying to give it a go tomorrow for sure.”

Just two behind Stenson is four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who fired a 67, while former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Ryan Moore are next at 9-under 207. Rose also shot 67 while Moore posted 69. Rickie Fowler, one of the tournament hosts, is among four players next at 208 despite a double bogey on the last hole that left him with a 70.

And Tiger Woods birdied the 18th hole for a 69. At 7-under 209, the eight-time winner will begin the final round five strokes back, a deficit he overcame on the final day in winning the 2009 edition. “I’ve got a chance,” Woods said. “I’m within reach if I shoot a really, really low round tomorrow.”

There are likely plenty of players who will feel the same. In all, just six shots separate the top 17 contestants on the leaderboard.


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