(Reuters) – Tyrrell Hatton and Sung Kang took the second-round lead while Rory McIlroy stayed in contention at a windswept Arnold Palmer Invitational in central Florida on Friday.
England’s Hatton by his own admission held his score together with smoke and mirrors on his inward nine but managed a three-under-par 69 on the Bay Hill course in Orlando.
South Korean Kang tamed the whipping winds, racking up six birdies in a 68 that was bettered by only one player, Danny Lee, who shot 67.
At seven-under 137, Hatton and Kang lead New Zealander Lee by one shot, while 2018 champion McIlroy is two behind after a 73 marred by a double-bogey at the par-four eighth.
South Korea’s Im Sung-jae, winner of last week’s Honda Classic, continued his stellar form with a 69 and joined McIlroy two back, along with American Harris English (70).
Recent world number one Brooks Koepka (73) trails by eight shots, but a host of big names missed the cut, including Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose.
Another former number one, Jason Day, withdrew after four holes, citing a bad back.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien