Stenson back in front, but a shootout looms

03/17/18

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.

 

ARNIE’S TRACTOR

Today’s the final round of the tournament and also a final chance to see Arnie’s tractor on display adjacent to the 10th tee. The orange Toro tractor is the exact model Arnie drove in his Pennzoil television ads of the 1980s. The tractor was transported here from Latrobe Country Club, Arnold’s home club in Pennsylvania.

 

BAY HILL UPGRADES

Arnold Palmer Design Co. will oversee the addition of two-acre short-game facility and driving range upgrade here at Bay Hill Club following this week's tournament. To make way for the new practice area, the ninth hole of Charger Course is being redesigned into a drivable par-4, which Arnie, no doubt, would have loved.

 

EAGLES COUNT

Add three more eagles to the tally of the “Eagles for Arnie Program,” bringing the three-round total to 33. Dr. Phillips Charities is donating $5,000 to Orlando Health this week for each eagle converted on the Championship Course. Last year the field made 37 eagles.

 

Dave Shedloski