Faxon Two Back of Riegger
Rain postponed the opening round of the $3.5 million Honda Classic in Coral Springs, Fla. Faxon narrowly avoided the 12:25 p.m. EST suspension, posting a 7-under-par 65.
John Riegger was 1-under through three holes when play was finally called at 3:05 p.m., and proceeded to tear up the soggy venue upon his return Friday.
The 38-year-old made eight birdies over his final 15 holes for a course-record 9-under-par 63.
'I knew I was playing well, I was holing some putts, but I wasn't thinking any particular number,' said Riegger, who is seeking his first career top-10 finish on the PGA Tour. 'Once I got it going, I was just trying to birdie every hole.'
The second round is scheduled to be completed Saturday afternoon. A cut will be made, and officials expect to play all 72 holes; though, rain is in the forecast Sunday.
A total of 111 players in the 144-man field had to complete their first rounds Friday morning. Ty Tryon, who broke through at this event a year ago as a 16-year-old amateur qualifier, was among them. Using the third of his seven allotted sponsor's exemptions until his 18th birthday June 2, Tryon shot 1-under 71.
Faxon carded nine birdies and two bogeys prior to the Thursday thunderstorms. He concluded his round with four birdies over his final five holes.
For the second straight season, Faxon is off to a torrid start, though this year, hes yet to win. He finished tied for second in the Nissan Open and third in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Ironically, its been Faxons putting that has kept him out of the winners circle. He left a 12-foot birdie putt a -inch short on the final hole at Riviera that would have forced a playoff. He then lost to eventual champion Kevin Sutherland in the semifinals at La Costa, missing a three-foot putt on the 18th to extend the match.
Thursday, the 2001 Sony Open champion needed but 23 putts in shooting his lowest round of the year.
'My game has really gotten better the last two years,' said Faxon, who earned nearly $2 million last season. 'I'm much more consistent from tee to green.'
Five of the worlds top-10 players are in the field this week. World No. 9 Davis Love III shot 69; No. 2 Phil Mickelson shot 70; No. 6 Retief Goosen posted a 71; No. 10 Chris DiMarco finished Friday with a 67; and No. 7 David Toms is at even par.
This is also the final week to qualify for the Masters (save for winning The Players Championship). Pat Perez, who needs to win this week to qualify, shot even-par 72, as did Steve Flesch, who must climb 10 spots from his No. 60 world ranking.
Full-field scores from the Honda Classic
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.
“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.
Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.
“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.
The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.
Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.
Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:
1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.
2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.
While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18