Orlando, Fla. Spencer Levin is atop the leaderboard after the opening round for the third time this year, so that’s nothing new. It was his score Thursday afternoon at Bay Hill that surprised him and everyone else.
In warm, blustery conditions on a course that allowed only three rounds in the 60s and the most rounds in the 80s in nearly two decades, Levin had a 6-under 66 and a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tiger Woods and his power group of Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland provided the entertainment everyone expected, although not this variety. Woodland hit a tee shot onto another golf course, Johnson wound up 80 yards over a green and onto the next tee, and Woods angrily tossed his wedge after his best shot of the day.
Their scores weren’t impressive. Woods missed a 10-foot par putt on the last hole for a 73, his highest opening round since 1999 at Bay Hill, where he is a six-time winner. Johnson and Woodland, coming off a win last week at Innisbrook, each shot 77.
Levin built the largest 18-hole lead of the year on the PGA Tour, but even that doesn’t illustrate how well he played. His 66 was nearly nine shots better than the average score at Bay Hill, which featured gusts over 20 mph.