Hoffmann extends lead to 3 at Bay Hill

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Morgan Hoffmann kept up the momentum, and now sits 36 holes away from his first PGA Tour victory. Here’s how things look at the halfway point of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Hoffmann leads a trio of players by three shots:

Leaderboard: Morgan Hoffmann (-13), Henrik Stenson (-10), Harris English (-10), Matt Every (-10), Ben Martin (-9), Rory McIlroy (-8)

What it means: Hoffmann began the day with a one-shot advantage, then surged ahead of the field with a 7-under 65 while playing in the first group of the day. He takes the pole position in search of that breakthrough win, and he remains in good shape for his first top-10 finish since September.

Round of the day: Playing alongside Hoffmann in the day’s first group, Danny Lee fired an 8-under 64 to grab a spot on the leaderboard. The Kiwi birdied his first two holes and didn’t slow down from there, making the turn in 5-under 31 and turning in a bogey-free card after making only two birdies during his opening-round 72.

Best of the rest: Hoffmann opened with 66, then bettered that score by a shot despite opening his second round with a bogey. He reeled off six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine and made eight altogether.

Biggest disappointment: Adam Scott appeared ready to contend after an opening 68, but the Aussie only managed a 1-over 73 during the second round. Scott had six bogeys, including three across his final five holes, and at 3 under he trails Hoffmann by 10 shots.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Hoffmann is the man to beat, but recall that Scott led by seven at the halfway point a year ago and failed to leave with the trophy. Among the chase pack, Stenson appears most likely to make a run at the leader after closing his round Friday with a back-nine 30, though world No. 1 Rory McIlroy also lurks just off the pace following a second-round 66.

Shot of the day: Rookie Zac Blair had a rare highlight on the difficult par-4 third hole, holing a 6-iron from 174 yards for an eagle. The shot propelled him to a 5-under 67 in the second round, and at 4 under Blair easily made the cut.

Quote of the day: “My caddie and I pretty much set a game plan for the week, and I’m just trying to stick to it. It worked today.” – Hoffmann