Jon Rahm doing Jon Rahm things, Cameron Young looks for first win among notes from Day 1 at Arnold Palmer Invitational
The stars are out in Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the third of four elevated events in five weeks.
There is a familiar name on the leaderboard as Jon Rahm continues his torrent run. The Spaniard opened with a 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into Friday.
After three straight birdies on Nos. 1-3, Rahm bogeyed the par-4 eighth to make the turnaround at 2-under 34. He would birdie the par-5 12th before making a long effort at par. -4 15 to keep the movement going.
His fairway stayed hot at the par-5 16th with a 24-under for eagle to push his nose even with early leaders Chris Kirk and Cameron Young.
A monster 7-iron into the par-3 17th resulted in a kick-in birdie and the lead outright at 6 under.
And, for good measure, he birdied the par-4 final after another laser putt to within 10 feet.
Not sure if anyone will be able to keep the “Rahm-page” – sorry, I see myself out.
If you missed any of the action on Thursday, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know from Day 1 at Bay Hill.
API: Second round tee times | Photos
Cameron Young in prime position for the first win
Cameron Young walks off the 16th hole in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Last season, Cameron Young won the Arnold Palmer award for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Now, he is able to win at the King’s place.
The young skip started his day with an eagle at the par-5 12th (his third) and made three more birdies to turn in a 5-under 31. His back nine wasn’t so pretty, a ‘ traded two birdies with two bogeys to post a one-day 5-under 67.
“I think I was really happy with the way I put the round together today,” he said. “Anytime you break out here you’re doing right enough. Today I just feel like I did every time I had a chance to make birdies.”
At last year’s API, Young tied for 13th.
Chris Kirk is still seeing it days after winning the Honda Classic
Chris Kirk hits a putt on the 16th green in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Kirk captured his fifth PGA Tour title, and first in eight years, last week at the Honda Classic and has brought some momentum to central Florida.
Thanks to seven birdies and a couple drops, Kirk opened the API with a 5 under 67. He has been successful at Bay Hill in recent years, finishing 15th or better in the last four seasons.
“I felt a bit like a zombie this morning, but I can’t take away the joy of playing this event every year,” Kirk said after his round.
It will be part of the afternoon wave that is expected to combat the worst winds on Friday, so it will have to move into defensive mode after attacking most of Thursday.
Catching up with some big names
Scottie Scheffler hits a putt on the 16th green in the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Scottie Scheffler: World No.
Jordan Spieth: Spieth hit the ball beautifully on Thursday, first place in SG: Tee to Green. The putter let him down a bit – 55th in SG: Putting – but it was good enough for the Texan to post a 4-under 68.
Rory McIlroy: At a golf course where McIlroy usually thrives, he struggled in round one. A poor swing at the par-5 6th led to a double bogey after his first tee shot failed to find land on the banana-shaped hole. He was up and down coming home and finished the 2018 API camp at 1-over 73.
Max Homa: No bogey through 17 holes before making a five on the par-4 18th with a wayward tee shot. He posted a 2-under 70.
Rickie Fowler: Fowler continued his streak of good play Thursday with an opening round 4-under 68. His last win came at the 2019 WM Phoenix Open.
Blowing the wind in Friday’s weather
Details of the 13th pin flag in the first round of the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill in Orlando. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The lawns at Bay Hill are already starting to turn brown and that begs the question: What will the maintenance crew do on Friday morning?
Well, judging by a late moment in Thursday’s broadcast, the watering process on the greens has already begun.
The second day at the API is going to be very rough with winds expected to reach 20 MPH with peaks up to 40 MPH.
Picture of the Day
Not a bad way to start the week for Viktor Hovland.
The story first appeared on GolfWeek