World number two Adam Scott took advantage of perfect conditions and the absence of Tiger Woods when he scorched to an opening 10 under par, 62, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
The reigning US Masters champion was in red hot form on the greens sinking at least five putts from a distance of 20 feet on his way to a round that delivered seven birdies, two eagles, only one drop shot and a share of the course record held by Andy Bean and compatriot and mentor Greg Norman.
The 33-year-old, with 10 PGA Tour wins to his name, has laid the platform for an ideal weekend of preparation ahead of the Masters, which begins on April 10th. A win at Bay Hill will see the Australian edge to within putting distance of Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings.
Woods, an eight-times winner at Bay Hill, was forced to withdraw due to a recurring back problem, which is believed to be a bulging disc.
Not great news for the world number one, who is looking for a fifth Green Jacket at the Augusta National and a first Major win since his 2008 US Open triumph.
Ryo Ishikawa and John Merrick put some heat on Scott with opening rounds of seven under par, 65, while Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano sits a shot further back on six under.
Brandt Snedeker, Francisco Molinari, Jamie Donaldson, Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffman all opened with five under, 67's, leaving them well placed to make a second round charge.
Scott's 62 was the best opening round at Bay Hill and the last time he opened with the same score, he won the World Golf Championship at Firestone in 2011 by four shots, a good omen for the Australian.
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