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Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament 2013

Tournament Preview

The smoking hot Tiger Woods leads the field entering Thursday's first day at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.

Woods, the tournament's defending champion, is fresh off his title two weeks ago at the Cadillac Championships in which he was atop the leaderboard all four days.

Woods leads a 132-man field that will see the winner take home a cool $1.116 million. The field will be reduced to 70 after the first 36 holes, with the winners playing on Saturday and Sunday on NBC.

Woods' domination at Bay Hill borders on mythic. He has won the event seven times, dating back to his other-worldly 18-under in 2000. He won the event four straight times from 2000-2003, averaging 16-under in those four years. He won the event back to back in 2008-2009, then shot a 13-under last season. His victory in 2012 snapped his winless streak on tour at 27, dating back to September of 2009.

Woods will have more than his hot golf as a subject of interview questions this week. On Monday, Woods announced that he is dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, posting photos with her on his Facebook page.

Also in the mix will be 2011 champion Martin Laird, two-time champion Ernie Els and perennial fan favorite Phil Mickelson, who has only one title at Bay Hill, that in 1997.
Noticeably missing from the field - World No. 1 Rory McIlory, who has struggled mightily to start the 2013 season, with just one top 10 finish.

The only golfer off to a better start than Woods in 2013, American Brandt Snedeker, will tee off at 12:45 p.m. Eastern in Thursday's first round.

The 32-year-old Snedeker has racked up more than $2.8 million in earnings so far in 2013, with four top 3 finishes in five tournaments, including the win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in early February.

Thursday, 03/21/ 2013

Lost in all the hubbub of Tiger Woods' recent hot streak entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational was the fact that South Africa's Justin Rose is having a pretty darn good 2013 season as well.

The 32-year-old Rose fired a 7-under 65 to open up a two-stroke lead on Day One of the event at Bay Hill Resort in Orlando, Florida, hitting four straight birdies on the front nine and notching a birdie and an eagle in his last three holes on the day.

Rose finished eighth at the Cadillac Championship two weeks ago at Doral and fourth at the Honda Classic in early March.

Woods, the seven-time Bay Hill champion, was no slouch himself, notching a 3-under 69 to sit four strokes back of Rose and tied for fifth with nine other players.

Woods was 3-under after seven holes and 5-under after 16, but hit consecutive bogies on Nos. 16 and 17 to slide back a bit.

If Woods can capture the title, he'll return to No. 1in the world for the first time since 2010.

To do so he'll also have to jump American John Huh, who fired a 5-under 67 and the duo of John Rollins and Brad Fritsch, who each fired a 4-under 68. Huh sizzled ont he back nine with five birdies, including three straight to end the round.

Friday, 03/22/ 2013

Justin Rose held onto a share of the lead at Day Two of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday, met at the top at day's end by Bill Haas, with both men 9-under through the first two days of the tournament.

The 30-year-old Has fired a day's best 6-under, never hit a bogey and capped his performance with an eagle on 16 to tie Rose for the lead.

Rose shot a 2-under 70, missing a chance to maintain sole possession of first place by bogeying both No. 14 and No. 18.

The 22-year-old Huh, ranked just 103rd in the world this year, continued to impress, notching four birdies.

Meanwhile, clear-cut favorite Tiger Woods bombed out late, ending his round with three straight bogeys to end the day 5-under. Woods used an eagle on No. 6 to hit the turn 3-under, and was 5-under after 13 before the erratic ending left him tied for seventh with mark Wilson and Vijay Singh at 5-under.

The cut was set at +3 for the tournament, being held at Palmer's Bay Hill Resort and Club. Notable names failing to qualify for the remaining two days of competition include former champions Ernie Els (+6) and Phil Mickelson (+8), along with 2013's money leader to date, Brant Snedeker.

Snedker was at +3 after birdying No. 16, only to finish with a double bogey on 17 and a triple bogey on 18 to finish the day +4.

Saturday, 03/23/ 2013

For two days, Tiger Woods emulated the animal he's named after, lurking in the bushes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando.

On Saturday, he pounced.

Woods shot a daily best 6-under 66 in the third round at Bay Hill Club & Lodge on Saturday to surge to the top of the leader board in pursuit of his eighth title at the tournament named for one of the only players comparable to Woods' greatness. 

Entering Sunday's final round, Woods is two strokes ahead of fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and John Huh, along with South Africa's Justin Rose, who fell out of the lead after holding it for two days.

Woods hit only one bogey after finishing Friday's second round with three straight. He recorded five birdies and eagled No. 16 a day after bogeying it.

The 24-year-old Fowler shot his second straight 5-under 67 on Saturday to sit two strokes back. Fowler notched six birdies. The 22-year-old Huh was just 1-under on Saturday, and Rose was even par after opening the tournament with a 7-under 65. 

Rose came out with guns blazing, dropping to 13-under after four holes as he fired two birdies and an eagle, but it was rough sledding the rest of the way. He was +3 on the back nine, with four bogeys between holes No. 10 and 17.

Five players, four of the Americans, are tied for fifth at 8-under, three strokes behind Woods. In all, 13 players are within six strokes of the top of the leaderboard. 

Sunday, 03/24/2013

Rain interrupted play

Monday, 03/25/2013

Much like the rest of the field, Mother Nature could only sit and watch as Tiger Woods did what he does best on Monday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Woods fired a 2-under 70 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a record eighth time, finishing 13-under to take his third victory of the season and reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world for the first time in almost three years.

In his most uneven round of the tournament, Woods hit three birdies in the first six holes to effectively put the title out of reach for the rest of the field.

Woods ended up bogeying two of the last four holes, more out of safety than anything else, and finished two strokes ahead of Justin Rose, who also shot a 2-under 70 to finish at 11-under for the weekend.

No other competitor in the field finished double-digit strokes under par. Four players - Americans Mark Wilson, Keegan Bradley and Rickie Fowler, along with Spain's Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, all finished 8-under at 280.

Rose came into the day with the most realistic shot at catching Woods, but bogeyed two of his first three holes to fall four strokes back. He didn't hit another bogey on the day, and notched four birdies overall, but it wasn't enough. 

Twenty-two year old American John Huh, who had been in the mix at the top throughout the tournament, bottomed out with an 8-over 80 to plummet to 27th in the field. After recording five bogeys in his first 16 holes, Huh birdied No. 16, then hit back-to-back double bogeys to end a miserable round.

The top card on the tournament's final day was turned in by American Bubba Watson, who fired a 5-under 67 to tie for 14th at 4-under.

The swagger was back on Monday. Ditto the swoosh, the red shirt (albeit muted under a black windbreaker) and the raised finger symbolizing his return to No. 1 in the world.
Heck, Tiger Woods even has a hot girlfriend again.

The tour's greatest player stamped his return to No. 1 in the world by sewing up his record eighth title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, finishing two strokes ahead of Justin Rose, who led the field for the first two days of play.

The 37-year-old Woods won for the third time in five events this season on the PGA Tour, and will take this week off, as his tradition, before gearing up to pursue his fifth title at the Masters, which begins April 11.

Woods hasn't won a Major Championship since taking the US Open title in 2008. Between 1997-2007, he won 13. 

His victory Monday at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida, was his 77th on the PGA Tour. Only Sam Snead (82) has more in PGA history, and took 30 years to reach that figure, while Woods is within five of the mark in a little more than 18 seasons.

To put those figures in perspective, Phil Mickelson ranks second among active players in career titles with 23 - less than one-third Woods' total, and Mickelson has been active on the tour for six years more than Woods.

Woods pocketed $1,116,000 in prize money and 500 FedEx points with the victory on Monday. He totaled just 10 bogeys in 72 holes of play, more than making up for it with 17 birdies and three eagles.

Runner-up Justin Rose saw his chances fade in a 12-hole stretch that began on the 10th in the third round and culminated on No. 3 on Monday. In that stretch, Rose was 5-over, with just one birdie against six bogeys.

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