Stenson leads by 2 at Bay Hill

Orlando, FL ( – World No. 3 Henrik Stenson fired a second
consecutive 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round
of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Stenson, the 2013 FedExCup champion, finished 54 holes at 16-under-par 200 to
match the low score in relation to par at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge. Andy
Bean first posted 16-under in 1981, when the course played as a par-71.

Second-round leader Morgan Hoffmann shot a 1-under 71 and dipped into second
place at minus-14.

Defending champion Matt Every had a 3-under 69 and shares third place with
Jason Kokrak (65), Matt Jones (67) and Ben Martin (68) at 13-under 203.

Sean O’Hair, the 2009 runner-up to Tiger Woods, carded a 68 for the second day
in row and he moved into seventh place at minus-11.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy bogeyed three straight holes on the back nine en
route to a 71 and fell into a tie for 12th at minus-9.

McIlroy, who is playing this event for the first time, had four birdies
through 13 holes to climb within one of the lead at minus-12. Then, his tee
shot at the par-3 14th came up well short and he chipped to 10 feet.

He missed that putt to dip to 11-under. McIlroy 3-putted for bogey at 15 and
made a mess of the 16th en route to his third straight bogey.

Stenson opened with five pars in a row before sinking a 3-footer for birdie at
the par-5 sixth. He rolled in an 11-foot birdie try on No. 9 to make the turn
at 12-under.

The Swede was one back at that point, and had birdie chances on each of the
first five holes of the back nine. However, he missed all five and parred
those holes.

The four-time PGA Tour winner inched within one of Hoffmann’s lead thanks to a
13-foot birdie putt at 15. At the par-5 16th, Stenson poured in a 20-footer
for eagle.

That moved him one stroke clear of Hoffmann. Stenson parred the 17th, then
stuffed his approach within two feet at the last and he kicked that in for a
closing birdie.

Stenson has played the 15th to 18th holes in 8-under par over the last two

“I just hit some great shots two days in a row into 15, then made the putts
there,” Stenson explained. “On 16, I tried not to mess too much with that
left-hand pin near the water, left it in a beautiful spot, and rolled it in
from 20 feet.

“Some great shots and some great putts. It’s just a coincidence that it is
that last four, but of course you’re picking up pace if you’re going 4-under
two days in row on the closing stretch at Bay Hill.”

Hoffmann was steady to start the day with seven straight pars. A 3-putt bogey
at No. 8 dropped him into a share of the lead, then he fell out of that tie
when he failed to save par from a greenside bunker at the ninth.

Around the turn, Hoffmann flew right back into the lead. He drained an 18-foot
birdie try at 10 and a 14-footer for birdie at 12. Hoffmann moved one ahead
with a 6-foot birdie at that 13th. He closed with five straight pars to end
one behind Stenson.

“I felt great coming into today. It was a weird day. I got some squirrelly
lies in the fairways, got some mud balls, and then up against some lips in
some bunkers,” said Hoffmann, who is playing with a heavy heart after his
grandmother died Thursday morning. “My caddie was really good at keeping me
under control on the back nine.

NOTES: Stenson has the 54-hole lead for just the second time in his PGA Tour
career … The 54-hole leader has failed to win the last eight PGA Tour events
… Daniel Berger had a double-eagle on the par-5 sixth, propelling him to a
4-under 68, which moved him into a tie for 23rd at 7-under 209. It was the
first double-eagle in event history, and the first on the PGA Tour since the
2014 Travelers Championship, where Trevor Immelman had one.