Huge crowds flock back to Bay Hill as Tiger entertains on Day 1 of Arnold Palmer Invitational

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2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club, Orlando, Florida - 15th March 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Huge crowds flocked back to the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Day One as Tiger Woods (pictured below) morning start gave the fans plenty of reason to wake up early. In a round of 68, that may have ended up at least two shots better, Woods, making his return after a five year gap, enthralled the audience with some dazzling play.

2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club, Orlando, Florida - 15th March 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

About the only thing that went wrong for Woods was an errant tee shot on the 3rd hole that went out of bounds and caused the man who has won the event eight times to return a full 275 yards to the tee box. He posted a double bogey at the hole but then clawed his way back to be in contention with six birdies including a 71 foot putt on the 7th hole to put a smile on the faces of all in attendance.

While Marc Leishman maybe the current defending champion, Woods won on his last two trips to Bay Hill in 2012 and 2013 and it’s quite clear that the 42 year old sees himself as the true defending champion.

2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club, Orlando, Florida - 15th March 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

While Woods was worth the price of admission alone Henrik Stenson (pictured above) added the gloss as he shot an hugely impressive round a week after missing the cut at the Valspar Championship. Stenson turned in an opening 8-under 64 to take a one-shot lead making nine birdies, including seven in an eight-hole stretch starting at No. 9.

The nine birdies were a career-best mark on the PGA Tour for Stenson, who missed the cut last year at Bay Hill, and after his round featuring a career-low 20 putts he remarked: “It’s better to save them all for one go, I think. There’s no point wasting a few last week when I was heading home.  I mean we know it’s a funny game, my putter was not working at all last week, I actually hit the ball quite all right throughout the two rounds that I played, but I just couldn’t make a birdie, really. I had to go and do a bit of work on my putting and got that going for sure. It felt good with a bit of a work on my setup and posture and I hit some good putts in practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and, yeah, today was beautiful out there on the greens, really.”

Overall there were 21 rounds in the 60s recorded by the end of the day including 65s by Aaron Wise and Talor Gooch, and 67s by Jimmy Walker, who made the first eagle at the eighteenth hole in twenty years, Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau.

2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Bay Hill Club, Orlando, Florida - 15th March 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

One player left to rue his fortune on the day was Rory McIlroy (pictured above) who pulled his tee shot out of bounds at the par-4 18th and finished with a double-bogey to shoot 3-under 69. The Irishman quipped:

“I guess with shooting what I shot today and only being (3 under), it’s not disastrous. But I need to (play the par-5s) better.”

Friday Tee Times:

No 1. Tee

  • 7:35 a.m.: Paul Goydos, C.T. Pan, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
  • 7:47 a.m.: Robert Streb, Scott Stallings, Tim Herron
  • 7:59 a.m.: Harris English, Stuart Appleby, Ollie Schniederjans
  • 8:11 a.m.: James Hahn, Smylie Kaufman, Chris Kirk
  • 8:23 a.m.: D.A. Points, Matt Every, Charles Howell III
  • 8:35 a.m.: Bryson DeChambeau, Luke Donald, Vijay Singh
  • 8:47 a.m.: Billy Horschel, Cody Gribble, Sangmoon Bae
  • 8:59 a.m.: Kevin Chappell, David Lingmerth, Stewart Cink
  • 9:11 a.m.: J.B. Holmes, Lucas Glover, Luke List
  • 9:23 a.m.: Talor Gooch, Sam Burns, Collin Morikawa
  • 12:20 p.m.: Robert Gamez, Brandon Harkins, Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • 12:32 p.m.: Danny Lee, Alex Cejka, Tyrone Van Aswegen
  • 12:44 p.m.: Scott Piercy, Ian Poulter, Haotong Li
  • 12:56 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed
  • 1:08 p.m.: Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Tiger Woods
  • 1:20 p.m.: Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson
  • 1:32 p.m.: Ryan Armour, Si Woo Kim, Cameron Smith
  • 1:44 p.m.: Russell Knox, Billy Hurley III, Alex Noren
  • 1:56 p.m.: Ben Martin, Patrick Rodgers, Byeong Hun An
  • 2:08 p.m.: Donny Lee, Curtis Luck, A.J. McInerney

No. 10 Tee

  • 7:35 a.m.: Keegan Bradley, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Tway
  • 7:47 a.m.: Kevin Na, Martin Piller, Yuta Ikeda
  • 7:59 a.m.: Camilo Villegas, Louis Oosthuizen, Jamie Lovemark
  • 8:11 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood
  • 8:23 a.m.: Marc Leishman, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy
  • 8:35 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Emiliano Grillo, Ernie Els
  • 8:47 a.m.: Austin Cook, Hudson Swafford, Danny Willett
  • 8:59 a.m.: Brian Harman, Davis Love III, Tyrrell Hatton
  • 9:11 a.m.: Scott Brown, Bud Cauley, Peter Uihlein
  • 9:23 a.m.: Aaron Wise, Sam Horsfield, Doc Redman
  • 12:20 p.m.: Nick Taylor, Beau Hossler, Satoshi Kodaira
  • 12:32 p.m.: Hunter Mahan, Sung Kang, Sam Saunders
  • 12:44 p.m.: Kevin Streelman, John Huh, Whee Kim
  • 12:56 p.m.: Ted Potter Jr., Kyle Stanley, Padraig Harrington
  • 1:08 p.m.: Mackenzie Hughes, Jimmy Walker, William McGirt
  • 1:20 p.m.: Patton Kizzire, Kevin Kisner, Brian Gay
  • 1:32 p.m.: Grayson Murray, Brian Stuard, Vaughn Taylor
  • 1:44 p.m.: Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman, Shane Lowry
  • 1:56 p.m.: Chesson Hadley, Martin Laird, Sean O’Hair
  • 2:08 p.m.: Jason Kokrak, Anirban Lahiri, Tom Hoge


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