The Masters champion, who started the day with a three-shot
cushion after an opening 62, more than doubled his advantage with a
four-under-par 68 on the Bay Hill course in Orlando.
No one has had a bigger halfway lead on the PGA Tour in nearly 24
years as Scott equaled the tournament's 36-hole record by Andy Bean
and Tom Watson in 1981.
"I hit the ball really nicely today, probably struck it much better
than yesterday but I didn't make as many putts," Scott told Golf
Channel after posting a 14-under 130 total.
"It was a good solid round. I was never really out of position
(apart from the first hole) and I managed my game pretty well. It's
all kind of coming together, the work I've been doing."
Italian Francesco Molinari (70) and Americans J.B. Holmes (69) and
Chesson Hadley (68) are in a distant tie for second on seven-under.
Scott, widely regarded as the best driver in the game, showed why he
is so highly rated as he split fairway after fairway, hitting only
two poor drives all day, at the first and ninth holes.
He shrugged off a sore throat and chest congestion to compile six
birdies and two bogeys, including a dropped shot for the second
successive day at the par-four 18th.
The finish was disappointing for Scott, who notched up his first
three-putt of the week when he lipped-out a five-footer, the
shortest putt he has missed in two days.
Nonetheless, he was hardly going to let that small blemish take the
gloss off a round that only one player bettered on the demanding
Scott said that not feeling well might even have helped, because it
prompted him to play within himself.
"Sometimes it's not a bad thing," he continued. "I'm not bouncing
around out there. I'm trying to make decisions on the simplest shot
I can possibly hit and not ask too much of myself and it's done well
so far, so I'll try and keep that in mind tomorrow."
[to top of second column]
Barring a weekend collapse, Scott will go into the April 10-13
Masters as the world number one.
He currently is ranked second behind Tiger Woods, who is not
defending his Bay Hill title due to back spasms.
Neither Scott nor Woods will play again before Augusta, and due to
the vagaries of the ranking system, Woods will remain on top for at
least two more weeks.
But if Scott wins at Bay Hill, he will take over top spot the week
of the Masters.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina,;
editing by Gene
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