Laird moves one clear at Bay Hill

Scotland’s Martin Laird will take a one shot lead into the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

Scotland’s Martin Laird will take a one shot lead into the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

The American-based Laird went on a charge during his last six holes, birdying four of them to reach nine under par, one shot clear of first-round leader Spencer Levin, who followed up Thursday’s 66 with an even-par 70, and Korea’s K.J. Choi, who’s 64 was the lowest round of the day.

Four players are tied for fourth a further two shots back – Hunter Mahan, Charles Howell, Steve Marino and Vaughn Taylor.

Laird excelled off the tee, with his length helping him play the par-fives in five under, including a long putt for eagle at the 16th, his seventh hole of the day.

He also signed off his round in style with a birdie from out of the rough on his 18th.

“The 16th was kind of a nice break for me,” he said. “If that putt didn’t hit the hole, it probably would have gone about 10 feet by.

“I had a couple of putts yesterday that looked really good and didn’t go in and today any putt that looked good went in, pretty much, with the exception of eight.”

Tiger Woods had a much better on Friday, following up Thursday’s 73 with a 68 that included five birdies. The former world number one, who hit only six fairways and needed only 26 putts, admitted he’s not 100% comfortable on the greens.

“I had a hard time getting the ball to the hole today,” said Woods. “I was very surprised how slow these things (the greens) were today.

“They must have soaked them pretty good last night because balls were holding, they were spinning back a little bit, very different than what we had yesterday.

“We are trying to build towards the first major and that’s kind of how my game is. It’s building and it’s coming.”

Yet another player showing signs of revival is Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who equaled Woods’ disappointing first-round performance, and also his much better second-round showing.

“It feels good. Obviously I’m playing better,” he said of his game. “I’m able to do a lot of things better than I’ve been doing lately. It’s a work in progress. It’s getting there. It feels better but it’s still not finished.”

Among those players failing to make the cut were Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and Ryo Ishikawa.