Zach Johnson leads Tiger Woods by two at Quail Hollow

By Doug FergusonMay 2, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
CHARLOTTE, N.C. ' Tiger Woods dropped out of the lead with late bogeys for the second straight day, leaving former Masters champion Zach Johnson with a two-shot advantage Saturday heading into the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship.
 
Johnson was among the few who survived the Green Mile, the three-hole stretch of closing holes at Quail Hollow. He made a 12-foot birdie on the 17th that carried him to a 4-under 68 and a chance to win for the second time this year.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods finished with two straight bogeys on Saturday. (Getty Images)
Johnson, at 11-under 205, was two shots ahead of Woods, Lucas Glover and George McNeill, all of whom bogeyed at least the last hole.
 
The final two groups, including Johnson and McNeill, had to wait out a 1 hour, 12-minute storm delay before finishing the 18th hole. PGA Tour officials blew the horn to stop play right after Woods staggered to the finish line with a 70.
 
Woods birdied all the par 5s, including a two-putt from 12 feet on the 15th hole that put him in the outright lead at 11-under par for the first time in a third round that featured seven players atop the leaderboard at some point.
 
That he would drop two shots at the end was not terribly shocking, given the difficulty of the holes.
 
What bothered Woods was he had a 7-iron in his hand both times ' a poor approach to the 17th that led to a three-putt from 60 feet, and a slight shift in the wind that kept his ball right of the green on the 18th, followed by a poor chip to 6 feet and failure to save par.
 
Thats not the way you want to finish, Woods said. But Ive got a shot going into tomorrow.
 
Hes not alone.
 
Glover got into the mix with an eagle on No. 7 and did not drop a shot until he pulled his tee shot near the creek on the 18th, missed the green to the right and took bogey for a 68.
 
McNeill also was bogey-free until he three-putted from 40 feet on the 17th, then found a fairway bunker on the 18th that kept him from reaching the green, giving him a 70.
 
A dozen players were within four shots of the lead, a group that does not include Phil Mickelson.
 
He was only two behind going into the third round, but missed three birdie chances on the opening five holes, and right when Lefty seemed to get it together, it all came undone. He missed the green to the right on the par-5 10th, where the pin was tucked to the right on a difficult green. From 60 feet away, it took him five shots to get down. He made double bogey and wound up with a 75, leaving him eight shots out of the lead.
 
That was where the turning point was, he said. I felt like I tripled a hole, and just didnt get it going from there.
 
U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee, the 18-year-old in his second tournament as a pro, appeared to be poised to make a run as the youngest winner in PGA Tour history. He was among those tied for the lead midway through the round and was bogey-free on a tough day until he was swallowed up at the end.
 
He pulled a 7-iron left into the water on the 17th to make double bogey, then dropped another shot at the 18th for a bogey. All that work, and he only had a 70 to show for it. Even so, he was five shots behind at 6-under 210.
 
The last two holes really let me down, Lee said. New start tomorrow.
 
Johnson already has won this year in Honolulu and will play in the final pairing with Glover, whose only PGA Tour victory came four years ago at Disney when he holed out a bunker shot at the 18th.
 
Even so, Woods only two shots behind is enough to get their attention.
 
Im only two back, which is nice, Woods said. Ive got a good shot at it going into tomorrow.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Quail Hollow Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Luke List, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood and Tiger Woods at the 2018 Honda Classic Getty Images

    Honda leaders face daunting final day

    By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2018, 12:46 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The winner may need a cut man in his corner more than he needs a caddie on his bag in Sunday’s finish to the Honda Classic.

    Smelling salts might come in handy, too.

    “It just feels like you are getting punched in the face every single hole here,” Daniel Berger said of the test PGA National’s Champion Course offers. “Every single shot is so hard.”

    Final rounds have been especially rough and tumble since the Honda Classic moved to PGA National in 2007.

    That usually makes Sundays here as much about who can figuratively take a punch as who can throw one.

    Luke List will have his jaw tested after taking sole possession of the lead Saturday with a second consecutive round of 4-under-par 66, but he can take comfort in the fact that punishment is doled plentifully around here.

    “Just realizing that everyone is facing the same obstacles out there is huge,” List said. “You're not alone out there, if you make a bogey or a bad swing here or there.”

    At 7-under 203, List is one shot ahead of a pair of major championship winners, Justin Thomas (65) and Webb Simpson (66). He is two ahead of Tommy Fleetwood (67), the reigning European Tour Player of the Year, and Jamie Lovemark (68).

    List, 33, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 104th start. He will have to hold off some heavyweights, including Tiger Woods (69), who is seven shots back but feeling like he has a chance again. Woods closed with a 62 here six years ago when he finished second to Rory McIlroy.

    “You never know what can happen the last few holes here,” Woods said. “A lot of things can happen and have happened in the past.”

    Amen.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Crazy things have happened here.

    Three years ago, Padraig Harrington was five shots down with eight holes to play and won. He made two double bogeys in the final round but ended up beating Berger in a playoff.

    Berger, by the way, was nine shots back entering the final round.

    That was the year Ian Poulter took a share of lead into Sunday, hit five balls in the water and still finished just a shot out of the playoff.

    Last year, Rickie Fowler made four bogeys and a double bogey in the final round and still won by four shots.

    List will have a heavyweight playing alongside him in the final pairing, with 24-year-old Justin Thomas looking to claim his eighth PGA Tour title. Thomas was last season’s PGA Tour Player of the Year.

    List has never held a 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event.

    “You guys build up certain players,” List said. “I know I'll be an underdog going against Justin Thomas and guys like that, which is fine.”

    There is some inspiration for List in what Ted Potter Jr. did two weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Potter, largely unknown even though he already had a PGA Tour title to his credit, held off stars Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in the final round to win. 

    Thomas earned the right to play alongside List in the final pairing Sunday with his 65, which equaled the low round of the tournament.

    Thomas makes his home in nearby Jupiter and knows the punishment the Champion Course can dish out.

    “It's a difficult course,” Thomas said. “If you let it get to you, it can be frustrating, but if you go into it understanding and realizing it's difficult, you just kind of embrace it and deal with it.”

    Thomas played the Bear Trap’s trio of daunting holes (Nos. 15-17) in 2 under on Saturday. He birdied the 15th and 17th holes.

    Fleetwood got in contention Saturday with a pair of eagles. He’s a four-time European Tour winner.

    “I would love to get my first win on the PGA Tour this week,” he said. “It’s just great to be out here. It's great to be playing on courses like this that are such a test of every part of your game.”

    Alex Noren, a nine-time European Tour winner, is also seeking his first PGA Tour title. He is three shots back. He lost in a playoff to Day at the Farmers Insurance Open last month.

    Though this is just Noren’s second start at the Honda Classic, he knows how wildly momentum can swing on the Champion Course. He shot 65 Saturday after shooting 75 on Friday.

    “I’m a few back, but anything can happen,” Noren said.

    That’s the theme around here.

    Getty Images

    Thomas: Winning hometown Honda would 'mean a lot'

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:53 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas is trying to join Rickie Fowler as a winner of his hometown event.

    Thomas will play in the final group alongside Luke List on Sunday at the Honda Classic after matching the low round of the week with a 5-under 65. He is at 6-under 204, one shot back of List.

    The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is one of several residents of nearby Jupiter. After Fowler won last year, Thomas (who missed the cut) returned to the course to congratulate his neighbor on his fourth Tour title.

    “I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come back,” Thomas said. “But I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about him coming here.”


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    More important to Thomas, however, is winning this event, which is played at PGA National, one of the most difficult non-major courses on Tour.

    “It would mean a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to win any golf tournament, but it would mean more because of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, how strong of a field it is, how difficult of a golf course.

    “A decent number of my wins have been on easier golf courses, so it would be cool to get it done at a place like this.”

    Getty Images

    Woods paired with hotshot rookie Burns at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:38 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rookie Sam Burns will be in the biggest spot of his career Sunday – playing alongside Tiger Woods.

    Burns, the reigning Nicklaus Award winner who turned pro after two standout years at LSU, will go off with Woods at 12:45 p.m. at the Honda Classic.

    Burns, 20, who earned his Web.com Tour card via Q-School, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption, his fourth of the season. He is 13th on the Web.com money list this year, after a tie for second two weeks ago in Colombia.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Burns and Woods are tied for 11th, at even-par 210.

    Sunday is an important round for Burns, who can earn a spot into the Valspar Championship with a top-10 finish here.

    Getty Images

    List leads Honda; Thomas one back

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 11:25 pm

    Luke List, one of a legion of PGA Tour players who live in Jupiter, just two exits up I-95 from PGA National, shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic. Here's how things stand going into the final round at PGA National:

    Leaderboard: Luke List (-7), Justin Thomas (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Tommy Fleetwood (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Alex Noren (-4) 

    What it means: Leader List has played well this season, with no finish lower than T-26 in six starts. Thomas, of course, is the reigning Player of the Year. The next best pedigree among the leaders belongs to Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and three other PGA Tour titles.

    Round of the day: Thomas and Noren both shot 5-under 65s. Thomas made two of his six birdies in the Bear Trap (at the par 3s, Nos. holes 15 and17), while Noren played that stretch (15-17) in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Best of the rest: List, Simpson and Kelly Kraft all shot 66.

    Biggest disappointment: After an opening 76, Jimmy Walker probably thought he was back on track with a 68 that allowed him to make the cut. Alas, the improvement was temporary, as he ballooned back to a 74 on Saturday.

    Shot of the day: Tommy Fleetwood hit a fairway wood from 282 yards to within 8 feet of the cup on the 18th hole. He then made the putt for his second eagle of the day.

    Quote of the day: "The course played a fair bit easier with not as much wind." - Thomas

    Biggest storyline going into Sunday: List may be in the lead, but most eyes will be on Thomas, a five-time winner last year who has yet to lift a trophy in 2018. And of course, more than a few people will be keeping tabs on Tiger Woods. He'll begin the day seven shots back, trying to channel Tiger of 2012 - when he posted a 62 on Sunday at PGA National (which was good only for a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy).