2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard, scores: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele chasing Kurt Kitayama
A day that started with world No. 1 John Rahm leading the lead ends with Kurt Kitayama at the top of the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard. When Ram fell from 7 to 3 within an hour, the field was given new life after the world’s hottest player arguably graciously opened the door for someone else to win the golf tournament.
Kitayama was the man who rose to the challenge early on Friday morning by signing for 68 in the second round to reach level 9 in the tournament. This number will remain stable for the rest of the day, despite strong winds forecast to die down in the afternoon.
At this time, Jordan Spieth made a dash to 7th position to position himself right behind Kitaema. Although he is Kitayama’s closest competitor, he is just one of many big names at arm’s length; they are joined by US Presidents Cup teammates Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantley, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young and Scotty Scheffler on the front page of the leaderboard.
1. Kurt Kitayama (-9)
This time last year, Kitayama was not ranked in the top 250 in the official world golf rankings. Securely in the top 50 at the start of the week, the 30-year-old continues to gear up for his first PGA Tour win. Kitaema showed flashes of brilliance, only to be outmatched by one of the game’s elites. Collecting three runners-up in his last 23 starts, Kitaema lost to Ram at the Mexico Open, Schauffel at the Scottish Open and Rory McIlroy at the CJ Cup in South Carolina. If he’s not careful, one of those names could turn him around again.
“I think I put myself in good places. Right now I feel like I’m just trying to win, it’s hard, you know, especially with the guys I’ve been up against,” Kitaema said. “So you just have to keep putting yourself in that position to give yourself a chance… You have a couple of good breaks and this is your tournament, really. So I just have to try to be there until the end.”
2. Jordan Spieth (-7)
T3. Xander Schauffele, Corey Conners (-6)
T5. Patrick Cantley, Davis Riley, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Thomas (-5)
T9. Cameron Young, Ludwig Aberg (a), Scotty Scheffler, Adam Scott (-4)
The main stumbling block of this group is the presence of those who are usually absent from the Arnold Palmer Invitational. So far this week, Schauffele, Spit, Thomas and Cantley have played three tournaments together. By giving this event status this year, the best in the world are proving that their games will travel no matter the course.
Will start now @JustinThomas34 🔥
That’s six birds today for JT as he transitions to T6. @APInv. pic.twitter.com/aj6XLYz0aL
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 3, 2023
Ram is still human
The first racket of the world confidently led in the first round, but turntables turned on Friday. Blinded by a double bogey on the 6th par-5, Ram played his last five holes in the 4 over and went from leading the tournament to having to play catch-up on the weekend. With his 4-over-76 round – his worst since the 2022 PGA Championship – he is 3 under and six strokes behind Kitayama.
“Sorry for my language, but this is hard as hell,” Ram said with a laugh. “It’s solid, fast and blows at 30 mph. This is a very challenging golf course. I spent most of the day dealing with it. It’s only the last five holes, although I didn’t feel like I was making bad shots. , I just couldn’t handle it and ended the last stretch badly.”
Imagine a goal like this pic.twitter.com/AzmEqXi930
— Christopher Powers (@CPowers14) March 3, 2023
Big day for another #1
World #1 in the professional rankings may not be in the top 10, but the #2 amateur in the world is. Ludwig Aberg of Texas Institute of Technology ran 70 rounds in a row to halfway to a share of 10th place. Aberg is currently No. 1 on the PGA Tour U standings, which is significant as the top player after the NCAA championship ends will earn PGA Tour status.
“I think we talked about it and I think the more you play these tournaments, the easier it will be for you,” Aberg said. “It gives me a lot of knowledge about myself. Because, obviously, it reveals your game a lot more than a regular event. We play on a green that rolls very fast. it teaches you more about your game. I just try to enjoy it, try to accept it and absorb as much as I can.”
2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational updated odds and picks
Odds via bookmaker Caesars
- Xander Shovel (6-1)
- Jordan Spit (13/2)
- Kurt Kitayama (2/17)
- Scotty Sheffler (9-1)
- Patrick Cantley (9-1)
- Justin Thomas (11-1)
- John Ram (1–11)
- Corey Conners (14-1)
- Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1)
- Rory McIlroy (22-1)
- Cameron Young (25-1)
- Max Homa (28-1)
Scheffler started the weekend eight strokes behind on pace last year and continued the Bay Hill story by serving the hunters. The top of this year’s leaderboard is significantly stronger thanks to the likes of Spieth, Thomas, Schauffele and more, but there may still be a crack to enter through. It should be wide enough for a couple of interesting underdogs: Cameron Young at 25-1 and Max Homa at 28-1.
Young was 8 under 14 holes on Friday before finishing with two ghosts and a double. He dribbles amazingly and looks at himself. Homa is in the same boat, although he is one stroke behind, 3 less. Homa is in the top 10 in both teeing and batting, and should move up the leaderboard if his short game problems subside.