Hoffman picks up where he left off

Morgan Hoffman continued to shine at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday, and now leads by three shots after the second round.

The American followed up his superb opening 66 with an even better round of seven-under-par 65 at Bay Hill on Friday, taking his total to 13 under par.

That was three strokes clear of three others, Henrik Stenson, Matt Every and Harris English.

Hoffmann’s halfway total of 131 was just one shot outside the tournament record set by Adam Scott last year. He had eight birdies in 11 holes from the third

“There are times in your life when you really get hit by something and that was yesterday for me,” Hoffmann told Sky Sports 4 after learning that his grandmother had passed away prior to starting his first round. “And it helped me appreciate life and being out here, enjoying the weather and playing golf. I am living my dream so I can’t be happier.”

“I’m really not going to think about it [winning] or look at any scores. Just going to try and hit the middle of the greens and stick to my plan.”

Stenson, meanwhile, has two top-five finishes in his last two starts and seems to be getting closer and closer to victory.

“It’s always good to be up there and I have a long-term plan and goal to prepare for the Masters,” said the Swede, who shot a second-round 66. “I want to get into contention as much as I can.

“I was not mentally where I wanted to be on the front nine so I am really happy with the way I turned things around. I got rewarded for staying patient.”

It was also a good day for Rory McIlroy, who broke 70 for the first time on the PGA Tour in 2015.

McIlroy shot a more-than respectable 66 and lies on eight under par, five off Hoffman’s lead.

After two birdies on his front nine, the World No 1 picked up five in a row after the turn, and only a disappointing bogey at the eighth – his second-to-last hole of the day – spoiled his card somewhat.

“It would have been nice to finish the round off a little better, but it’s still a good score and sets me up for the weekend. Each day I am feeling more comfortable, especially on the greens, and we got the best of the greens being out early,” said McIlroy.

“I’m happy with how I putted today and will need to putt like that over the weekend to have a chance.”