Tiger Woods chasing Justin Rose at 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational

David Cannon

Justin Rose opened with a 7-under round of 65 to take a commanding early lead at Bay Hill, but his playing partner Tiger Woods is certainly in the hunt and capable of catching up before the weekend.

Tiger Woods has finished his first round at the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational, and while the world's No. 2 had a solid opening round, it was his playing partner who went low to take an early multi-shot lead. Englishman Justin Rose is the early pacesetter at Bay Hill, firing an opening round 65

Woods is in fine position at 3-under, but he had an up-and-down round that will probably leave him frustrated as he leaves the golf course on Thursday. Tiger opened with a birdie and an eagle in his first seven holes, momentarily taking the lead all by himself during his first nine. But he made the turn with back-to-back bogeys to fall back to 1-under.

During his press conference on Wednesday, Woods said the rain at Bay Hill this week had softened the course and changed scoring conditions considerably. At times, Tiger fired darts into the greens but he also struggled to save par on several occasions once up on the green. Tiger hit 10 of 18 greens in regulation during his opening round, and needed 29 putts on his first 18 holes at the API (he needed only 100 putts in 72 holes at Doral).

It looked like Tiger might make a run at his playing partner Rose when he reeled of three straight birdies coming in, but he stalled out and played his final three holes in 1-over. Rose one-upped Tiger by picking up birdies on those same three holes (Nos. 4-6), and then also adding another at the par-3 seventh. He finished with an eagle, five birdies, and a bogey. It will be hard for anyone in the afternoon wave to match that 7-under round.

Rose is playing some of the best golf in the world right now, and has wins at some of the Tour's most competitive events over the past few years. A victory at Bay Hill would certainly add to that collection, and increase his hype at Augusta in three weeks. The tournament is only a few hours old, but would you bet against the eventual winner coming out of this Tiger-Rose opening round pairing?

Here's a current snapshot of the leaders and notables from the morning wave on Thursday at Bay Hill:

Score Player Thru
-7 Justin Rose F
-4 John Rollins F
-4 Sean O'Hair 16
-3 Tiger Woods F
-3 Ryo Ishikawa F
-3 Charley Hoffman F
-3 Nick Watney F
-1 Lee Westwood F
e Graeme McDowell F
e Ian Poulter F
1 Rickie Fowler 17
2 Keegan Bradley F
3 Ernie Els F

For a full leaderboard, visit Golf.com.

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