2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Leaderboard, Points: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele Chase Kurt Kitayama

A day that began with world No. 1 Jon Rahm taking the lead ends with Kurt Kitayama topping the leaderboard at the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational breathed new life into the field after possibly doing it by the hottest player on the planet gracious opened the door for someone else to win a golf tournament.

Kitayama was the man up to the task early Friday morning as he signed for a second round 68 to finish 9 under for the tournament. That number would remain constant for the remainder of the day, despite the late afternoon strong winds forecast.

During this time, Jordan Spieth made an attack on 7 under to position himself just behind Kitayama. Despite being Kitayama’s closest competitor, this is just one of the many big names within reach; They are joined on the front page of the leaderboard by US Presidents’ Cup teammates Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young and Scottie Scheffler.

the leader

1. Kurt Kitayama (-9)

This time last year, Kitayama was ranked outside the top 250 in the official world golf rankings. The 30-year-old, safely in the top 50 at the start of the week, continues to position himself for his first PGA Tour win. Kitayama has shown brilliance, but only to be outdone by one of the game’s elite. With three second places in his last 23 starts, Kitayama trailed behind Rahm at the Mexico Open, Schauffele 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 on his head again.

“I think I put myself in good positions. Right now I feel like I’m just trying to get that win, it’s tough, especially with the guys I’ve played against,” said Kitayama. “So I just have to keep putting myself in that position to give myself a chance… You get a couple of good breaks and it’s really your tournament. So I just have to try to be on top to the end.”

Other contenders

2.Jordan Spieth (-7)

T3. Xander Schauffele, Corey Conners (-6)

T5. Patrick Cantlay, Davis Riley, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Thomas (-5)

T9. Cameron Young, Ludvig Aberg (a), Scottie Scheffler, Adam Scott (-4)

The biggest sticking point of this group is the attendance of those who are normally absent from the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Before this week, Schauffele, Spieth, Thomas and Cantlay had taken part in three tournaments together. With designated status at this year’s event, the world’s best are proving their games will travel no matter the course.

After all, Rahm is human

The world No. 1 rode a hot finish and led on the first lap, but the turntables spun on Friday. Sidelined by a double bogey on the par 6, Rahm played his last five holes in 4-overs and went from leading this tournament to catching up over the weekend. His round of 4-over-76 – his worst result since the 2022 PGA Championship – puts him 3 under and six shots behind Kitayama.

“Excuse my language, but it’s damn difficult,” said Rahm, laughing. “He’s tight, he’s fast and he’s blowing 30mph. It’s a very difficult golf course. I made it through most of the day. It’s only the last five holes, although I didn’t feel like I was making bad swings, I just couldn’t get my run right and finished the last bit badly.”

Big day for another #1

World No. 1 in the pro ranks might not be in the top 10, but world No. 2 amateur in the world is. Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg fired consecutive rounds of 70 to move up to 10th at halftime. Aberg currently checks in at #1 on the PGA Tour U-score, which is significant given that the top player earns PGA Tour status after completing the NCAA championship.

“I think we’ve talked about it and I think the more of these events you play, the easier it gets,” Aberg said. “It gives me a lot of knowledge about myself. Because obviously it exposes your game a lot more than a normal event. We play greens that roll very fast. Then you got wind and you have a tough golf course. So it brings you more about your game, I’m just trying to enjoy it, try to embrace it and absorb as much as possible.

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational updated odds and tips

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

  • Xander Shovel (6-1)
  • Jordan Spieth (13/2)
  • Kurt Kitayama (17/2)
  • Scottie Scheffler (9-1)
  • Patrick Cantley (9-1)
  • Justin Thomas (11-1)
  • Jon Rahm (11-1)
  • Corey Conners (14-1)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1)
  • Rory McIlroy (22-1)
  • Cameron Young (25-1)
  • Max Homa (28-1)

Last year, Scheffler went into the weekend eight shots down, continuing the Bay Hill story that fed chasers. The top of this year’s leaderboard is significantly stronger with the likes of Spieth, Thomas, Schauffele and others, but there can still be a gap to get in through. It should be wide enough for two interesting underdogs: Cameron Young at 25-1 and Max Homa at 28-1.

Young was under eight for 14 holes on Friday before finishing with two bogeys and a double. He drives the ball terrific and gives himself looks. Homa is in the same boat, but one step down at 3 under. Homa ranks in the top 10 for both shots from the tee and shot formation, and he should move up the rankings as his short game problems ease.

https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/2023-arnold-palmer-invitational-leaderboard-scores-jordan-spieth-xander-schauffele-chasing-kurt-kitayama/ 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Leaderboard, Points: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele Chase Kurt Kitayama

Chris Estrada

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