Cabrera Bello avoids water to set pace with 65 at Bay Hill

Phil Mickelson hits out of a bunker onto the second green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday

Phil Mickelson hits out of a bunker onto the second green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday

Schniederjans finished his day tied for 95th at 4 over; Rafa Cabrera Bello is in 1st at 7 under; Keegan Bradley is in 2nd at 5 under; and Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Patrick Rodgers, Phil Mickelson, and Graeme McDowell are tied for 3rd at 4 under.

Mickelson's round of 68 included a double-bogey at the par-four 10th, where "Lefty" tried rather ambitiously to hit a right-handed recovery shot only for his ball to get caught up in a mesh fence.

Rory McIlroy said Wednesday achieving a career Grand Slam at the Masters next month would be "awesome" for golf as he warms up for Augusta at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I couldn't play at like 100 percent today. I knew it was a good shot ... and then I looked up and see it a foot away".

The prestigious US PGA Tour event at Bay Hill will field six of the world's top 10 golfers and 13 of the top 20, despite eight-time event victor Tiger Woods withdrawing on tournament eve.

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Only five players from the morning wave broke 70.

Schniederjans missed the green on his first shot on the 215-yard par-3 14th but had a chip in from 10 yards for birdie. "My back was sore when I was practicing from Tuesday to Saturday, and I was going to practice on Sunday, but I woke up and couldn't really walk or sit in the vehicle".

"Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I've had for a few weeks, I'm forced to withdraw from the API", Woods wrote on Twitter "I've been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play". "Couldn't sit in a vehicle, it was really hard". I ended up coming down here and seeing a physio and trying to do as much work as I possibly could to get ready for this week. "It just wasn't going to work out".

The 31-year-old walked off the course after playing his second shot on the 16th hole after teeing off on the back nine at Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida.

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