Rory McIlroy, who has missed the cut in two of his last four starts on the PGA Tour, is six shots off the pace after a second round of 70 which featured five birdies and two bogeys at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
And Sweden’s Henrik Stenson overcame a slow start to remain at the top of the leaderboard on day two.
Stenson added a second round of 69 to his opening 64 at Bay Hill to set the early clubhouse target on 11 under par, a target matched minutes later by American Bryson DeChambeau following a 66.
Stenson had covered the back nine in 31 on Thursday, but after starting from the 10th on Friday, the former Open champion could only manage nine straight pars to reach the turn in 36.
The par streak was extended to 13 holes before Stenson found his range on the greens to birdie the fifth, sixth and seventh to maintain his bid for a first win of the season.
Asked what made the difference between missing the cut in last week’s Valspar Championship and his performance so far, the world number 15 told PGA Tour Live: “Putting more than anything, but a combination of putting and my shots.
“I’ve been hitting a few really close this week and setting up some good opportunities from three or four feet. Today wasn’t as good as yesterday, obviously but the important part for me was 16, 17, 18. I scrambled for par all those three holes after hitting some not so-good golf shots.
“I kept patient and then I got on a strong and made three [birdies] in a row coming home. Three under around this golf course is never bad.”