Arnold Palmer second round: Spain’s Jon Rahm drops from top of leaderboard to 13th over four-over par second day; American Kurt Kitayama moves into the lead on nine under; Rory McIlroy enjoys much better second day, but still sits seven shots off the lead at two under
Last Updated: 04/03/23 7:52am
Overnight leader Jon Rahm slipped down the leaderboard at at Arnold Palmer Invitational after a disappointing four-over par second round as Kurt Kitayama enjoyed a fine day to take the lead on nine under.
Rahm’s performance leaves him on three under and tied in 13th place in the standings, while England’s Matt Fitzpatrick moved up 17 places to sit on five under after a three-under par second round.
“How would I characterise it? What do you think I’m going to say? Excuse my language, but it’s [expletive] hard,” Rahm said after a tough day.
“It’s firm, it’s fast and it’s blowing 30 miles an hour. It’s a very difficult golf course.
“For most of the day I managed it. It’s just the last five holes, even though I didn’t feel like I was making bad swings, I just couldn’t quite get it going and finished poorly the last stretch.
“Main thing is, two swings that didn’t feel bad, both of them end up in the water. That’s costing me two shots right there. Luckily, I shot seven under yesterday and I’m not too far off.
“You have to deal with it. Clearly, I never had it on the greens. Never had it off the tee. Didn’t make any putts, really. Hit very little fairways. That’s a very bad combination to shoot any scores out here. So you just try to minimize the damage. Obviously some people are going to shoot under par, but it’s just really tough.”
Leader Kitayama, who shot four-under par for the day to sit in the lead on nine under, said: “I felt like I was just hitting the ball really well. Obviously today with the conditions it was a lot to tougher. You’re still playing away from the pin.
“It definitely helped that they were not as fast, not as firm. Especially in the morning at least.
“You can tell they’re starting to get baked out a little bit with the wind. But both felt very similar in how I hit it. Just kind of where I put myself.”
Jordan Spieth is in second on seven under, after a round of three-under par.
The big mover on the day was Canadian Corey Conners, who moved up 46 places to fourth on six-under par, level with American Xander Schauffele.
Rory McIlroy and Irish duo Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington all enjoyed a better second day, with the latter two putting in two-under par displays to move up 24 (Lowry) and 34 (Harrington) places, and McIlroy a three-under par performance, moving up 44 places, but each are someway off contention.
“Yeah better, much better,” McIlroy said. “It was just sort of a day to hang in there and grind and get up-and-down and try to take advantage of some of the chances that you give yourself.
“So like, around here, par-5s, couple of the shorter par-4s, some of the downwind holes. But, yeah, overall happy to be in.
“Obviously the leader right now is at nine under. But, yeah, feel like I did well to shoot something in the 60s this morning and at least give myself a chance going into the weekend.”
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