Orlando, Fla. — Henrik Stenson gave himself another chance to win at Bay Hill, and he made it a bit tougher on Tiger Woods.
Stenson made three big par saves at the turn to keep the round from getting away from him, ran off three straight birdies on his back nine and posted a 3-under 69 that gave him a share of the 36-hole lead Friday with Bryson DeChambeau in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The chilly weather warmed in the afternoon, just not enough for Woods to do the same. He didn’t make a birdie until the 12th hole, never had a birdie putt inside 12 feet except for the par 5s on the back nine, and did well to scrap it around for a 72 to go into the weekend seven shots behind.
“I didn’t hit the ball close, I didn’t hit the ball well,” Woods said. “But I was just hanging in there … just try not to shoot myself out of the tournament.”
DeChambeau finished strong with an 8-iron into 7 feet for eagle on the par-5 16th and an approach to 4 feet for birdie on the 18th, giving him a 66 and his third time with a share of the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
“I think every week I’m good enough to win or play my best,” he said. “It’s just sometimes a kick here, a break here and that’s just what happens.”
Stenson and DeChambeau were at 11-under 133, two shots clear of PGA Tour rookie Talor Gooch (70).
Stenson’s putting carried him to a 64 in the opening round, and it saved him again on Friday.
“I made some great par putts and a bunker up-and-down, so that was really key today to keep the round going,” he said. “I didn’t drop a shot, where I could have easily dropped three shots on those holes.”
Temperatures were around 50 when he teed off, and it was clear Stenson has been gone from Sweden too long, living in Dubai and more recently in Orlando. If not for the tournament, he described this as a day to sit in the clubhouse with hot chocolate and wait for it to get warm.
“I might be Swedish, but I’ve gone soft,” he said. “I lived in a nice climate for too many years.”
Woods walked off the course early Thursday afternoon just one shot out of the lead, and the margin keeps getting wider — four shots back by the end of the opening round, now seven shots back going into the weekend.
It was clear early that this would be a struggle, especially when he ran a putt off the green and onto the fringe at No. 9 for this second bogey.
The disappointment was his wedge play. He never got anything particularly close “Today was just a bad day,” he said.
Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland) shot 69 and was 10 back.
At Phoenix, Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie to take the second-round lead in the Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton’s wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA Tour.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.
LPGA Tour player Suzann Pettersen is expecting her first child this fall. Lars Gilleberg, Pettersen’s Norway-based manager, confirmed the pregnancy to Golfweek on Friday. The 36-year-old Pettersen married Christian Ringvold in January 2017.