Thanks to a round of 66 and a missed cut last week at the Valspar, Charley Hoffman holds the 36-hole lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here’s where things stand heading into the weekend at Bay Hill:
Leaderboard: Hoffman (-10), Emiliano Grillo (-9), Matthew Fitzpatrick (-8), Lucas Glover (-7), Kevin Kisner (-7), Marc Leishman (-7)
What it means: Hoffman wouldn’t have played this event had he qualified for next week’s WGC-Match Play. But after missing the cut at the Valspar, he was suddenly free to enter the API and claim the lead. It’s been a slow start to the year for the four-time PGA Tour winner, who has missed six of 10 cuts but did manage to tie for fourth at Riviera. One back is the 18-hole co-leader Grillo, who played his first nine in 4 under thanks to a pair of eagles. Two back, the 22-year-old Fitzpatrick is looking to assert himself on the PGA Tour after three European victories and his first taste of the Ryder Cup last fall.
Round of the day: Hoffman dropped his only shot at the opening hole and followed with seven birdies on an otherwise clean card.
Best of the rest: Tommy Fleetwood rallied back from a Thursday 78 with a 66 of his own. The runner-up two weeks ago in Mexico, he’ll enter the weekend 10 back after clearing the cut by three.
Biggest disappointment: An emotional week for Sam Saunders will end early after back-to-back rounds of 74. Other notables to miss the 3-over cut include Kevin Na (+4), Brooks Koepka (+4), Trevor Immelman (+5), Henrik Stenson (+5), John Daly (+7), Webb Simpson (+8), Thomas Pieters (+9), Geoff Ogilvy (+11), and Patrick Rodgers (+13).
Shock of the day: Goes to Smylie Kaufman, who is certainly not Cody Gribble:
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) March 17, 2017