Cabrera Bello sets pace with 65 at Bay Hill

Jason Day withdrew from the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando citing a back injuryMore

Jason Day withdrew from the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando citing a back injuryMore

Ninety-four balls ended in the water, the most in any round at Bay Hill since 2003, but Cabrera Bello steered clear of trouble and was four-under after six holes.

Rafa Cabrera Bello proved a quick learner in his first appearance at Bay Hill, taking the first-round lead with a seven-under-par 65 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida on Thursday.

Australia's Jason Day withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday citing a back injury.

"I was surprised because I thought I hit it pretty flush", he said in true Mickelsonian fashion. This time, the new Rules of Golf helped Mickelson because he was able to move the ball one club length and escaped with double bogey.

"I've become a lot more comfortable with the fact that I'm going to fail more times than I succeed at that certain conquest or whatever you want to call it".

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Phil Mickelson was back at Bay Hill for the first time in six years and was entertaining as ever.

He has never won a PGA Tour event, but has a strong record on the European Tour with five victories.

Coming off a tie for second in his last PGA Tour start at the Puerto Rico Open, the Australian will enter Saturday's third round at Orlando's renowned Bay Hill course just five shots from the lead.

British Open champion Francesco Molinari made one of two aces on the day - the other belonged to D.A. Points - and was among those at 69.

"I (aggravated) it last Sunday", he said, "and then got an MRI Monday, which came back that I had an annular tear in my disc, and then I've got set problems as well. But, unfortunately, it didn't, so I had to pull out", said Day, who was two-over when he withdrew.

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Baddeley is the leading Australian at Bay Hill, with 2017 Palmer victor Marc Leishman posting a 70 to sit at two under.

"I've been messing around with a 64-degree lob wedge as I think that could be beneficial around (Augusta)", McIlroy, a victor of the U.S. and British Opens and the PGA Championship, said. "But, listen, I'm focusing really on the big picture right now". The top three finishers in the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified will earn exemptions into the Open Championship in July.

"Whether it was Mexico, Riviera or Torrey Pines, I left happy with where my game was even though I didn't win", McIlroy said.

"Any time you can shoot under par on this golf course, the rough is up, the greens are going to get tougher and tougher", Watson said after shooting 68.

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