Jason Day is in top form in building a two-shot lead at midpoint of Arnold Palmer Invitational

Zach Johnson always will have the Presidents Cup.

He knows he'd better enjoy it. Johnson's singles-match win last fall might have been the last time the two-time major winner enjoys the upper hand on Arnold Palmer Invitational leader Jason Day.

The past two days at Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Day reminded Johnson he was lucky to catch him on an off day in South Korea.

"I'm clinging onto that victory," Johnson joked Friday. "It ain't going to happen very often."

Few, if any, players can keep up with Day in his current form.

Firing on all cylinders in the first two rounds here, the world's third-ranked player has been in a class of his own and holds a two-shot lead entering the weekend.

Friday's bogey-free seven-under-par 65 moved Day to 13-under 131 total. Last year's runner-up Henrik Stenson was two shots back and Justin Rose another stroke behind, at 10 under, to set up a marquee final grouping today featuring three players ranked among the top eight in the world.

To avoid possible afternoon thunderstorms, players will tee off in threesomes on Nos. 1 and No. 10 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Stenson and Rose have the games to challenge Day. Each began his round eight shots out of the lead, but shot six-under 66s to close the gap.

"I knew I had to play a good round if I wanted to keep in contention," said Stenson, who was five under on the back nine.

Rose was bogey-free Friday during a round he described as "clinical." The longtime Orlando resident hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation. Rose rolled in six birdie putts, the longest from 17 feet on the par-four fifth hole, but he also missed 10-foot birdie putts on the ninth and 15th holes.

"I felt like I could have made more putts," he said. "I haven't had a hot run on the greens yet."

Meanwhile, Day has scorched the new putting surfaces at Bay Hill. A day after rolling in 105 feet of putts, Day drained more than 125 feet of putts Friday, including a 36-footer on his final hole of the day — the par-four ninth.

The 28-year-old Aussie also hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens.

"I felt like I couldn't do anything wrong out there," Day said. "I was very, very pleased.

"You can't coast it in," he added. "You got to keep pushing forward. That's the mentality that you have to take into the next two days."

egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

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