News & ToursMarch 18, 2016

Jason Day keeps Bay Hill lead with Friday 65; Rory McIlroy bounces back

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 18: Jason Day of Australia makes a birdie putt on the 17th green during the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Following a blazing end to 2015, Jason Day chose a lighter load to start the 2016 campaign. He took three months off in the winter, and played in just four events prior to this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in order to keep his body and mind fresh.

The gamble is paying dividends. The 28-year-old grabbed the Thursday lead at Bay Hill thanks to a 66, and showed no signs of letting up on Friday by augmenting his lead with a seven-under 65.

Day turned in a bogey-free round, topping it off with a 35-foot putt for birdie on his last hole of the day:

Though Day has historically struggled at Bay Hill -- in five previous appearances, his best finish is a T-17 -- he enters the clubhouse with a five-shot lead.

Although he's nowhere near Day on the scoreboard, Rory McIlroy bounced back from a rough Round 1 with a 67 on Friday. McIlroy seemed more at ease on the greens, and was six under at one point until a wayward tee shot on his 16th hole led to a bogey.