Scott surges to seven-stroke lead at Bay Hill
Adam Scott of Australia lines up his putt on the 18th hole during the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 21, 2014 in Orlando, Florida - by Sam Greenwood
World number two Scott, hot on the heels of top-ranked Tiger Woods just three weeks before defending his Masters crown at Augusta National, matched the Bay Hill course record with a 62 Thursday to begin the day with a three-shot edge.
Scott, at the event for the first time since he missed the cut in 2009, made six birdies and two bogeys Friday after the best first round in Bay Hill history to stand on 14-under 130 for 36 holes.
Italy's Francesco Molinari and Americans J.B. Holmes and Chesson Hadley shared a distant second on 137. Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Americans Keegan Bradley, Jason Kokrak, Morgan Hoffmann and Brandt Snedeker were another stroke adrift.
With a victory this week, Scott will not overtake Woods atop the world rankings but will move so near that he could do so in the next few weeks if neither plays again, as is expected.
Scott opened Friday with five pars before sinking a five-foot birdie putt at the par-5 sixth, but found a bunker off the tee at the par-3 seventh and made bogey.
Scott closed the front nine with a 13-foot birdie putt and added back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12, sinking birdie putts of five and six feet respectively.
Scott, 33, sank five putts from beyond 20 feet on Thursday and added a 28-foot birdie putt at the 15th Friday.
After a tap-in birdie at the par-5 16th, Scott closed with a bogey, missing a five-footer for par at 18 to settle for a seven-shot lead entering the weekend.