Graeme McDowell shot a final-round 66 here at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in the 2005 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard as Kenny Perry claimed the top prize, but tying for second with Vijay Singh meant a lot to the native of Northern Ireland.
"My finish here in 2005 really kind of kick-started my PGA TOUR career," McDowell said Friday after his 9-under- par 63 launched him to the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend of the 34th edition of Palmer's tournament. "I haven't always played well here since, but it gave me confidence that I could handle just about anything. And I've always felt like I could get it around out here."
McDowell had missed the cut in his last two appearances at Bay Hill, but later in 2010 he moved into another category of player when he captured the U.S. Open at the Pebble Beach Golf Links which, by the way, is owned by a partnership that includes Palmer.
McDowell, 33, had seven birdies and an eagle in his run up the board Friday. His eagle came at 16, where he sank a 7-foot putt.