Henrik Stenson leads after round one at Bay Hill with an eight-under 64, while Tiger Woods is four back. 

By Daniel Rapaport
March 15, 2018

Good scoring conditions saw some of the world's best rise to the top of leaderboard at the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The main attraction this week—and the main attraction every week he plays—is Tiger Woods, who is coming off a t-2 finish at the Valspar Championship. Woods entered as the oddsmakers' favorite this week, and he opened with a four-under 68 that has him in a tie for seventh. Woods trails Henrik Stenson (-8) by four, and Stenson has a one-shot lead over Aaron Wise and Talor Gooch. Jimmy Walker, Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau are all three behind at -5. 

The complete leaderboard can be seen here. 

Notable players' scores

Henrik Stenson: -8
Rickie Fowler: -5
Tiger Woods: -4
Patrick Reed: -4
Justin Rose: -3
Rory McIlroy: -3
Tommy Fleetwood: -3
Bubba Watson: -2
Hideki Matsuyama: -2
Jason Day: +1
Adam Scott: +1

Takeaways

Stenson's nine birdies set the pace

Stenson and his trusty three wood were firing on all cylinders Thursday, posting nine birdies with one lone bogey for a terrific 64. Stenson's last two starts before Bay Hill were a t-60 at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia and a missed cut last week at the Valspar. 

Tiger continues to look strong

Tiger got going early off the 10th tee today and didn't waste much time getting into red numbers. He made birdie on the 12th (his third hole of the day), 13th and another on the 16th. The round hit a roadbump on the 3rd, when a wayward three-wood wound up out of bounds, leading to a momentum-killing double. But Tiger came back with three birdies coming in, including a 71-footer at the par-3 7th, to post his fifth consecutive sub-par round. 

Promising signs from Rory

After a strong start to his year in Europe, McIlroy's early-season play stateside has left a lot to be desired—two missed cuts, a t-59 and a t-20 in four events. McIlroy was much better on Thursday, especially with his putting, and came to the 18th at -5. He then promptly snap-hooked a three wood out of bounds and made double, but there are plenty of positives to take from this round. 

Justin Rose gives a lesson in perseverance 

Justin Rose made a triple-bogey 7 on his second hole of the day and found himself +4 through six holes. Instead of packing it in, Rose buckled down and made seven birdies over his last 12 holes to post three-under 69. Rose, who has quietly risen to fifth in the world rankings, has 12 top-fives in his last 14 events, including three wins. 

Friday tee times (all times EST)

Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama: 1:08 p.m., 1st tee
Marc Leishman, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy: 8:23 a.m., 10th tee
Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood: 8:11 a.m., 10th tee
Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed: 12:56 p.m., 1st tee

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)