Orlando, Florida, March 6: On a day when scoring was not easy, Anirban Lahiri added to his woes with two double bogeys on the back nine as he shot 6-over 78 and exited from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the end of the second round.
Lahiri, who shot even par 72 in the first round, added a 78 and will miss weekend action at Bay Hill for the third time in five starts. Lahiri, one-over for the first nine, double bogeyed 11th, bogeyed 16th and double bogeyed 17th. He had just one birdie in four Par-5s and totalled even for four of them.
Corey Conners grinded out pars in the warm weather and surged into the lead with a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th hole — his second eagle on that hole in two days. His 69 gave him a one-shot advantage over former winner Martin Laird (67). Conners was at 9-under 135, and now everyone braces for the weather.
Rory McIlroy looked like joining Conners till he hit a couple of loose drives and ended with 71, but was glad he got away lightly with his mistakes.
McIlroy was two shots behind, along with Viktor Hovland and Lanto Griffin, who each had a 68.
Jordan Spieth (69) remained in the mix going into the weekend, which is becoming regular for him as he tries for a first win in three years.
Both Ryder Cup captains — Padraig Harrington of Ireland with a 74 to be nine shots behind, Steve Stricker with a 71 that left him one shot better.
For the third consecutive year, Korean standout Sungjae Im will enter the weekend rounds at the Arnold Palmer Invitational inside the top 10. He finished in the top-three in his first two appearances at Bay Hill Club & Lodge and hopes to be third-time lucky by winning the prestigious PGA TOUR tournament.
Im, who is ranked 17th in the world, posted a second round 2-under 70 on Friday and sits at 5-under 139 in tied seventh place through 36 holes. He trails leader Conners by four.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond fired the day’s low score with a superb 65, which was a 10 shot improvement from his opening round. The former Asian No. 1 took advantage of his local course knowledge as he is Bay Hill member after staying with two-time PGA TOUR winner, Daniel Chopra for nearly four months during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. He enters the third round in tied 11th place, five off the lead.