If you’ll excuse the pun, Jason Day had one of those days that didn’t happen too often: the Australian, a former world number 1 and US PGA champion, suffered a bizarre series of events in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with successive double bogies, but somehow managed to remain very controversial.
When Canadian Corey Connors took the lead in the clubhouse at nine-under-par-135 after adding a second round of 69 to his inaugural 66, it was day without a win that added to his success at the Wells Fargo Championship 2018 declines looking for the wrong kind of yardage.
On the 16th hole, after his eighth started on the 10th, Day had to get his hands on binoculars to identify his ball, which had landed in a nest in a tree.
“I enlarged it and I have the ball, well, I don’t have the ball but I could see the Tour BXS on the logo on the side and I think that’s it, perfect. . . . It was a little unfortunate that it was stuck, it was literally in a nest. I think mama Birdie will come back and find another egg there. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. “
Day had to take an unplayable lie and eventually ran up a double bogey six and followed on the 18th with another double bogey six after finding a fried egg lie in a bunker on the green. To his credit, he responded with a home run that included three birdies when he signed a 72 for 142, which left him seven shots behind Connors.
“This is a very special place for me. I lived here when I first came to America. I mean just five minutes down the street. To be here, I know the past few years haven’t gone down the right track, but my body makes me feel great and feel good where I am so I just have to keep going, ”said Day.
While Connors – whose only PGA Tour victory was achieved at the Valero Texas Open 2019 – took the lead with 135, two shots ahead of the formally strong Norwegian Viktor Hovland, the four-man Irish contingent in the invitational area had a contrasting fate of efforts to make the cut to survive.
Pádraig Harrington, who suffered abdominal pain during the Puerto Rico Open last week and was hospitalized earlier this week for kidney stones, managed to make the cut after adding a second round 74 to his opening 70 for a total of 144 to reach with 36 holes do it.
Graeme McDowell’s miserable start to the season, however, continued when, despite a second round 70 alongside Shane Lowry, he ended with five over par 149. For McDowell, who slipped, it meant a third miscalculation in four appearances in 2021 outside of the top 100 in the world in recent weeks.
2018 API winner Rory McIlroy again showed his fondness for the Bay Hill layout as he battled for another slant of the title: the world number eight shot a 71 in his second round to make for the tournament under seven to go. as he was preparing for a weekend challenge.
On the LPGA tour, the Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, who was aiming for another Solheim Cup appearance later this season, showed her well-being with a brilliant second round of 65 for a total of eight under par 136 to take the lead in the center of the clubhouse.
Leona Maguire, who continued in good shape after a top 20 finish in last week’s Gainbridge Championship, recorded a second round 71, four under par 140. The weekend’s top 10 was Maguire’s Die Round with three birdies and two bogeys allowed her to take a strong challenging position over the weekend. Stephanie Meadow, with rounds of 71 and 75 for 146, also made the cut.