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Scottie Scheffler prepping for Arnold Palmer Invitational carnage

Get ready for carnage at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend.

Bay Hill, which hosts this event every year, has already drawn comparisons to the U.S. Open due to its difficulty.

But Saturday’s forecast will make it even more challenging.

Temperatures in the upper-80s and winds gusting at roughly 20 miles per hour will burn Arnie’s Place out, making it faster, firmer, and harder.

“It may be a survival test,” said Scottie Scheffler, who shares a piece of the 36-hole lead at 7-under.

“It depends if they decide to water the greens and slow them down a little bit because they’re going to expect high winds. But we’ll see what they decide.”

Scottie Scheffler, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Scottie Scheffler plays his second shot at the 16th hole during the second round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Who knows what PGA Tour officials will do with the greens, which are already rolling very fast. However, the Orlando area will experience considerable cloud coverage on Saturday, so moisturizing the greens may not be necessary.

Regardless, the contenders anticipate a brutal challenge, a day where anything around even par will prove worthy.

“I bet you if I shot even par, you would be in the top 5 and have a chance to win,” said Wyndham Clark, who also sits at 7-under.

“It’s going to get firmer and faster, which it’s already doing, so even par [Saturday] would be fantastic. Then it looks like maybe a little rain on Sunday, so it might ease up. But, yeah, I mean, if you said, right now, hey, you shoot 3-under on the weekend, I would take it because I think that would have a really good chance on the last couple of holes.”

The firm and fast conditions will make it difficult for the players to stick it close.

That means players will need to remain stoic, grind it out, and try and make some long putts on the greens.

“It’s going to get windy tomorrow, and the greens are going to keep firming up, so it’s going to be really hard to get the ball close,” reasoned Brian Harman, the Champion Golfer of the Year, who is also 7-under.

Brian Harman, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Brian Harman on the 16th hole during the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

“Just got to stay patient, and try to make a long putt here or there.”

Harman relied on his irons to soar up the leaderboard Friday, as his putter uncharacteristically did not cooperate.

Meanwhile, Scheffler and Clark made plenty of lengthy putts on Friday, as both players gained strokes on the green.

That should surprise many, considering Scheffler’s recent putting woes.

“[Putts] just went in today, and I would argue that there were a few that I thought were going to go in that didn’t,” Scheffler said.

“I got off to poor starts, then missed short putts on the 11th during both rounds, but I stayed true to my process and did a really good job of not letting those things bother me. That’s kind of been my main goal this week: not trying to be perfect, just going out there and hitting solid putts and seeing what happens.”

No putt was more solid for Scheffler than his 45-foot birdie bomb at 15. That vaulted him up to 5-under, but he was not finished.

He also chipped in for an eagle at the par-5 12th, which ignited his momentum.

Scheffler also made an easy birdie at the par-5 16th and drained a 17-footer for a birdie at 17.

As for Clark, he could not miss over his last six holes.

At the 13th, the reigning U.S. Open champion made a 27-footer for birdie.

Wyndham Clark, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Wyndham Clark putts on the 16th green during the second round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Later, at the 17th and 18th holes, Clark drained putts from 32 feet and 27 feet, respectively.

He also made birdies on the 14th and 16th, soaring up the leaderboard like Scheffler did on the back nine.

Whoever goes on to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational will need to make long putts such as these.

Because things are not going to get any easier.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it got a little bit crazier because it’s going to be windy and all that,” added Russell Henley, who also holds a share of the lead.

“It’s a tough place, and it just gets harder the longer you play it.”

Scheffler, Clark, Harman, Henley, Shane Lowry, and Hideki Matsuyama are all 7-under through 36 holes—the most since the 2011 Valero Texas Open, when seven players led at the midway point.

Five of those players are also major champions.

That, coupled with the anticipated heat and wind, should create plenty of entertainment at Bay Hill.

Bring it on.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.



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