Duo lead while Tiger lurks
Wi and Dufner head leaderboard while Woods shoots 69
Last Updated: 23/03/12 8:19am
Jason Dufner: Leads the way along with Charlie Wi after first round at Bay Hill
Charlie Wi and Jason Dufner shared the lead after they both carded rounds of 66 on the opening day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
The duo led the way by two shots at the end of the first round, while Tiger Woods and Justin Rose lurked three shots off the pace after both shot rounds of 69.
Nick Watney claimed sole possession of third place after being the only man to return a round of 68.
Woods, a six-time winner of the event, continued his encouraging return from the Achilles injury which led to him pulling out of the WGC-Cadillac Championship just under two weeks ago.
His only dropped shot came as a result of three-putting the short 17th, his eighth hole of the day as he started his round on the back nine.
(US unless stated)
-6 C Wi (Kor)*
-6 J Dufner
-4 N Watney
-3 T Woods
-3 J Rose (Eng)
Click here for collated scores
"For some reason the course just fits my eye. I was just solid all day - I drove the ball well, hit my irons decent and putted all right," the 14-time major winner said.
"I had two three-putts (he did it for par on the long fourth), but also made a couple of bombs out there.
"I took something off most of my drives. I didn't really feel great with my tee shots, but I was getting the ball in play - and the ball is flying forever. Normal drives go about 310 (yards) or something like that.
"I'm in a position where I can hit it again. That's something that's been missing for a while and it's all the work that Sean (coach Sean Foley) and I have put together."
Woods went to the top of the leaderboard when he birdied three of his first six holes, reaching the green in two at both the 12th and 16th and holing a 32-foot putt on the 15th.
The setback at the 17th followed just before Anthony Kim had a hole-in-one there, but he picked the shot back up on the front nine with an 18-foot birdie putt at the sixth.
Rose, winner of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami on the same day that Woods quit after 11 holes, is hoping continue the recent European run of success in the States that have also produced victories for Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald.
Also starting on the back nine, he was one over after five holes but sank a 22-foot putt on the 15th and had three more birdies in four holes from the fourth.
Playing partner Phil Mickelson had double bogeys on the 18th and third, but finished with three birdies in six holes to repair some of the damage and on one-over par after a round of 73.
Ernie Els, who needs a top-three finish to have a chance of climbing into the world top 50 in time for the Masters, carded a round of 71 which could have been better if not for two bogeys in his last four holes.
Defending champion Martin Laird began with a level par 72, the same as Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia, while Ian Poulter had a 71.