Rose, Haas share Bay Hill lead after 36 holes

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2013, 10:40 pm

Low scores remained available Friday at Bay Hill, where Justin Rose and Bill Haas have set themselves apart from the field after 36 holes. Here's a recap of where things stand heading into the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational:

The leaderboard: Justin Rose (-9), Bill Haas (-9), John Huh (-8), Ken Duke (-6), Jimmy Walker (-6), J.J. Henry (-6), Tiger Woods (-5)

What it means: After Haas set the pace in the morning, Rose was able to match him in the afternoon wave and the pair will begin the weekend tied at 9 under. Woods appeared in position to challenge the co-leaders, but three closing bogeys ultimately dropped him four shots off the pace.

Round of the day: Beginning his round on the 10th hole, Haas got a pair of quick birdies at holes 12 and 13 before an eagle at the par-5 16th. He added two more birdies on his second nine, hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation en route to a bogey-free 66 Friday.

Best of the rest: Of the four players to shoot 5-under 67 in the second round, Chad Campbell’s round was the most adventurous. The Texan birdied three of his first four holes Friday, ultimately making six birdies and an eagle to more than balance out three bogeys. After opening with a 5-over 77 Thursday, Campbell was 10 shots better Friday to bring him back to even par overall, improbably making the cut with room to spare.

Biggest disappointment: After a four-putt from inside five feet, Phil Mickelson left the 13th green with a triple bogey, one of three 7s he made during his second-round 79. Despite seven birdies and an eagle across his first two rounds, at 8-over 152 Mickelson missed the cut by a wide margin and will sit out the weekend at Bay Hill for the first time since 1996.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: With the defending champ just four shots back, can the leaders maintain their advantage? After playing the first two rounds alongside Woods, Rose appears poised to keep his foot planted firmly on the gas this weekend as advantageous scoring conditions are expected to remain in place.

Shot of the day: Heading to the 14th hole at 6 over, Kevin Chappell was in need of a spark. That's just what he found when his tee shot at the 217-yard par-3 landed in the middle of the green and rolled straight into the hole. The ace gave Chappell hope of making the cut, but he gave those shots back with a double bogey on the home hole, ultimately shooting an even-par 72 to finish at 7 over, four shots off the cut line.

Quote of the day: 'The good news is we've got 36 holes to go. We've got a long way to go, and certainly four shots can be made up.' – Tiger Woods 

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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.

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.

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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 (holes 15-17), while Noren played that stretch in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.


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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.

Jason Dufner in the third round of the 2018 Honda Classic. Getty Images

Dufner wears "BOSS" hat while playing with Tiger

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:20 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jason Dufner doesn’t have a hat sponsor this year, freeing him up to wear whatever lid he wants.

That’s why he’s already worn caps with camouflage, American flags and The Notorious B.I.G.’s face.

He saved his most audacious look for Saturday at the Honda Classic – a blue cap with “BOSS” and five gold stars on the front.

“Perfect time,” Dufner said with a smile, “playing with Tiger (Woods).”

And where did he find the cap, which generated plenty of buzz on social media?

At Rickie Fowler’s house, of course.

“There’s not much behind it,” Dufner said. “I don’t have a sponsorship this year, so I’m doing whatever I want to do. This one was laying in Rickie’s house last night, so I grabbed it.”

Tiger Woods at the 2018 Honda Classic Getty Images

Woods' 69 so close to being 'stupid good'

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:08 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – After an uncharacteristic misfire, Tiger Woods was standing awkwardly on a downslope behind the 15th green, a bunker directly in front of him, water looming long.

He widened his stance, shifted his weight forward and hit what he thought was the perfect, high, soft flop shot into a 15-mph wind. There was maybe a 3-foot circle in which he could land his ball, and Woods missed that mark by a few inches, his ball agonizingly hanging up in the rough just over the bunker. He dropped his club, grimaced and barked an expletive loud enough for those in Ponte Vedra Beach to hear.

“That would have been stupid-good,” said his playing partner, Jason Dufner.

But it epitomized Woods’ day at the Honda Classic – on so many holes, he was mere inches from a round that could have been “stupid-good,” or at least his best of the year. Instead, he settled for a 1-under 69 – his first round in the 60s in nine attempts this season – and a spot among the top 11 heading into the final round at PGA National.

“Today was the highest score I could have possibly shot,” he said afterward. “I really hit it good.”

Those who so easily dismissed Woods as too old and too broken and too far removed from his glory days are surely sweating now.

Woods isn’t anywhere close to unlocking his best – and, to be fair, perhaps he never will – but already he is on the fringes of contention in just his fourth Tour start since August 2015.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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That bad back? It seems like an afterthought now. With temperatures climbing into the mid-80s Saturday, Woods looked fit and spry, uncorking a 128-mph swing – an eye-popping number that would have ranked first on Tour every year since 2007.

It’s not just uncontrolled fury, either. After disastrous ball-striking performances at Torrey Pines and Riviera – including a career-worst showing at Riv, where he hit only 16 greens in two rounds – Woods has put himself in the fairway more often and carved iron shots on one of the most difficult courses on Tour.

Seven of his approach shots Saturday were within 20 feet – for the week, he is second in the field in proximity to the hole – but he made just two of those attempts.

“I’m making some tweaks in my golf swing but also trying to understand what this body can do,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be – those angles are gone. I’ve had to make adjustments here and there, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of gradually building it together.

“Today was the best I’ve hit it.”

Dufner has seen plenty of Woods over the past years, playing a couple of times a week at Medalist in nearby Hobe Sound. The former PGA champion was surprised to see Woods’ pedestrian results in his first two starts.

“Today was closer to what I saw during casual rounds,” Dufner said, “which is a good indication that he’s on his way to playing some good golf.”

There were still some indifferent moments Saturday, and that’s to be expected. Woods flared a few wedge shots right. He made only 67 feet worth of putts, his fewest of the week. He missed left on both par 3s in the Bear Trap, bailing out away from the water, and made bogey. But here’s a dose of perspective: Those wedge shots still found the green, every player is struggling to make putts on these sand-filled greens and those watery par 3s are some of the most uncomfortable on Tour.

“He’s a smart guy,” Dufner said. “He’s always kind of been a strategist and a tactician out there. If he gets just a little bit better with his control and what he’s doing, he’ll be right there.”

Woods spent much of his first two starts tempering expectations, suggesting that he has only just begun his comeback, that it’ll take more time.

So much for that.

Sitting seven shots back, Woods was asked his thoughts heading into the final day. He immediately shifted into his default setting.  

“I’ve got a shot,” he said.

And at this rate, he should have plenty more this year.