Fleetwood shares lead at halfway stage of Arnold Palmer event


Miami (AFP)

Tommy Fleetwood drained two eagles en route to grabbing a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the US PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida on Friday.

The 28-year-old Englishman, who is seeking his first title on the US Tour, posted a six-under 66 at the Bay Hill course in Orlando, Florida to tie Keegan Bradley at the top of the leaderboard with a nine-under 135 total.

Former PGA Championship winner Bradley fired a four-under 68 to seize a share of a 36-hole lead for the first time since 2013.

Fleetwood rolled in eagles on the sixth and 12th holes to become the only player to have two eagles in a round twice this season. He also did it in his most recent start at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

"Hopefully, I can continue to play well around here," said Fleetwood, who now has nine straight sub-70 second round scores on the Tour. "It was just nice to have a day like that and just constantly feel at ease, really, with hitting good golf shots."

Fleetwood's last tournament win came on the European Tour when he captured the 2018 Abu Dhabi event.

His has finished runner-up twice in his career on the PGA Tour at last year's US Open and the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship.

"I've done a lot of good things over the last two, three years," Fleetwood said. "That would be the next logical step to win in America or win on the PGA Tour and then see where we go from there."

Jhonattan Vegas and Billy Horschel are part of a group of six golfers at five-under 139, four strokes back of the Fleetwood and Bradley.

Vegas shot a two-under 70 and Horschel, who teed off in the morning group, had a 71.

- Difficult test -

First round leader Rafa Cabrera Bello shot a 75 and is tied for ninth.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy, who won last year with a 18-under 270 total, fired a 70 and is tied for 31st.

"The golf course is hard," said McIlroy. "It's probably more of a test off the tee than the last few weeks. If I hit fairways on the weekend, I'll feel like I've got a good chance."

Among the players missing the cut by one stroke are Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh.

Former champion Mickelson missed the cut with rounds of 68 and 78.

"That's probably the score I deserved," he said of his 78 which included a couple of double bogeys.