ORLANDO, Fla. – Morgan Hoffmann didn’t let a slow start ruin his chances for a breakthrough win.
Hoffmann played his first nine holes in 2 over Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and watched as a three-shot lead turned into a one-shot deficit. Facing adversity for the first time all week, Hoffmann rallied with three back-nine birdies. At 14 under, he sits alone in second place, two shots behind Henrik Stenson.
“Just a really weird day out there,” Hoffmann said. “Got some mud balls in the fairway, couldn’t control it. Got some weird lies in the bunkers. Brought it back and am decent for tomorrow.”
Hoffmann’s comeback began with an 18-foot birdie on No. 10, and he followed with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 that briefly gave him sole possession of the lead before Stenson overtook him a few holes later.
Hoffmann led after each of the first two rounds, and he carded a 1-under 71 after holding a 36-hole lead for the first time. Despite the early stumbles, the 25-year-old is in position for what would be just his second top-three finish (2014 BMW Championship).
“I felt like I was ready for today, absolutely,” he said. “Golf is a weird sport. Anything can happen. Hopefully we get some better breaks tomorrow.”