Golf: Stenson, DeChambeau share early second-round lead at Palmer

Stenson plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Stenson plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.PHOTO: AFP

ORLANDO, Florida (REUTERS) - Bryson DeChambeau collected a birdie on his last hole to grab a share of the early second-round lead alongside Henrik Stenson at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday (March 16), as Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Rickie Fowler all moved into contention.

After a scorching opening-round 64 Stenson's play stalled on another cool sunny morning at Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando with the Swede reeling off 13 consecutive pars.

But with the pack threatening to push him out of top spot, Stenson, playing the back nine first, fired three straight birdies for a three-under 69 to leave him at 11-under at the midway point.

DeChambeau also had a big finish to his round, carding an eagle at the par-five 16th and joining Stenson at the top of the leaderboard when he hit his approach to within three feet at the 18th for an easy birdie and a six-under 66.

"It actually warmed up quicker than expected although it took a little bit longer for me to warm up," smiled Stenson.

"I'd obviously love to get a good result here this week and some more practice and carry on with some form in Houston going into Augusta.

"It is the major I have performed the least over the years and possibly the one I want to perform the best."

Fowler battled his way to a one-under 71 but it was enough to leave the American in the clubhouse just five off the pace at six under with Billy Horschel (70).

McIlroy was one shot further back on five under after returning a 70.

The Northern Irishman got his round off to a steady start with an error-free two-under outward nine but had an adventurous trip home with three bogeys offseting a run of three straight birdies.

"I could have been a couple of shots lower I think but overall it has been a solid start to the tournament," McIlroy said. "I need to make a bit of a move over the weekend to get closer to Henrik but I'm pretty pleased where my game's at."

Els, who was named captain of the International team for next year's Presidents Cup on Tuesday, also had a 70 to join McIlroy in the clubhouse at five under.

Another large gallery was out at Bay Hill as Tiger Woods got his second round underway.

Four behind Stenson after the first round, Woods was quickly in trouble on Friday when he sent his opening tee shot into the rough and had to settle for a bogey.