Adam Scott leads by seven at Arnold Palmer Invitational

ORLANDO, Fla. — On a day when news broke that Tiger Woods was diagnosed with a bulging disk, Adam Scott was diagnosed with a bulging lead.

Scott will be under observation for the next two days as he tries to carry the Arnold Palmer Invitational on his back with the ease of a world-class weightlifter.


The Aussie leads the tournament by seven shots and is 14 under at the midway point, following up his course-record-tying 62 with a solid 68 on Friday at Bay Hill.

Scott set more tournament records, besting the previous largest lead here after 36 holes: Paul Azinger (1988) and Woods (2002) each held four-shot advantages. (Azinger won by four shots, Woods won by five.)

Scott also tied the two-round low score of 130, set by Andy Bean and Tom Watson in 1981.

Now the $1.1-million question: Can Scott win the purse and beat the Bay Hill record for largest margin of victory?

Woods lapped the field in 2003, winning by 11 shots. That was a much different, much younger Tiger who was manhandling the PGA Tour.

Woods, 38, withdrew from the event Tuesday, citing persistent back pain. GolfWeek reported Friday that Woods has a bulging disk but will not need surgery.

It might not have made any difference whether he was here or not. Oh, Arnie and his ticket-takers and the networks would have appreciated his magnetic presence, but even a healthy Tiger would have been hard-pressed to keep up with Scott.

Scott is playing one golf tournament, and everybody else is seemingly trying to sharpen their game for next week's Texas Open.

J.B. Holmes, Chesson Hadley and Francesco Molinari share second behind Scott at a distant seven under. There's a five-way tie at six under that includes Keegan Bradley, who posted the day's best score at 67.

Golfers are worry-warts, and conditions — the wind picked up a little Friday — can change. So Scott predictably reminded everyone, "We're only halfway and there's still ... seven shots over two days is not enough. I don't think you can have a big enough lead, to be honest."

Until further notice, it's Adam Scott vs. Adam Scott. He's trying to fight the urge to out-race the shadow he's casting over the field after posting the 62. He's setting the bar so high, he's in need of a ladder.

"Yesterday was one of those days when everything fell into place for me," he said. "I think I've got to just try and start again tomorrow. With this weather, the course is going to play tricky again ... really start to bare its teeth.

"Hopefully, if I can keep striking the ball like I am, I'll give myself enough chances for birdie and hopefully more birdies than bogeys."

Mostly putts fell into the hole for him on command in the first round, when he seized a three-shot lead. He needed only 23, but in the second, Scott said, "I struck the ball better but didn't make the putts."


After struggling with flu symptoms on opening day, Scott said he still had a sore throat. "So hopefully the worst is behind me," he said.

"My strategy is to go out and try to keep swinging like this and pick this course apart."

Bay Hill has been defenseless against him so far.