Stenson maintains PGA lead
Henrik Stenson did just enough right and was happy enough to take a one-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, even if he wishes it could have been more.
Stenson missed a short birdie putt and a 12-foot eagle attempt on the back nine Saturday, had his tee shot knocked down by a gust of wind that led to bogey and closed out a 1-under 71 to go into the final round with another chance to win at Bay Hill.
“I was looking for a little better,” Stenson said. “But I’m still in the lead.”
Bryson DeChambeau also missed his share of chances in a round of 72 and was one shot behind.
More troublesome was the number of players that are still very much in range, and one of them could be Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy made eagle on No. 12 and birdied two of his last three holes and was two shots behind. He will be in the penultimate group with Justin Rose, who shot a 67 while playing in the same group with Woods and the massive crowd and wound up three shots behind. Ryan Moore (67) also was three back.
Woods made another bold play on the par-5 16th, this time with his ball near the lip of a bunker. Instead of pitching out to the fairway, he hit a shot over the trees and the water that set up a two-putt birdie, and he hit sand wedge into the 18th for a 12-foot birdie putt and a 69.
Woods was five shots behind.
“I’m within reach if I shoot a really, really low round tomorrow,” Woods said.
Of his record eight victories at Bay Hill, Woods has led six times and was tied for the lead another time. His lone comeback also was from five shots behind in 2009, when he rallied to beat Sean O’Hair with a 67 in the final round.
Woods has nine players in front of him, and they have some pedigree.
It starts with Stenson, who has reason to believe he is overdue at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He had a one-shot lead with four holes to play in 2015 when he had consecutive three-putts — one for bogey, another for par — and Matt Every beat him with an 18-foot birdie on the last hole.