Bryan, Palmer co-lead Honda; Fowler one back


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It’s a mix of youth and wisdom atop the leaderboard at the halfway point of the Honda Classic. Here’s how things look heading into the weekend at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Ryan Palmer (-9), Wesley Bryan (-9), Rickie Fowler (-8), Anirban Lahiri (-7), Graham DeLaet (-6), C.T. Pan (-6)

What it means: Bryan began the day with a share of the lead, and he birdied each of his first three holes to remain in the mix. He’s joined at the top by Palmer, who is looking for his first win since 2010 and whose experience at this event is highlighted by a playoff loss in 2014.

Round of the day: Palmer missed his first three cuts to start the year but revealed after a 5-under 65 that he has been balancing his game with his wife’s recent battle against breast cancer. The veteran has long struggled with the Bear Trap, but it was no issue Friday as he played the three-hole stretch in even par and added six birdies elsewhere.

Best of the rest: Brendan Steele was a longshot to make the cut after a quintuple bogey on the fifth hole of his opening round, but Steele bounced back and will play the weekend after a 5-under 65. The round included six birdies, highlighted by an eagle-3 on the 14th hole where he needed nine swipes the day prior.

Biggest disappointment: Cody Gribble entered the day with a share of the lead after a sterling 64, but the rookie quickly fell back to Earth with a 6-over 76. Gribble made only one birdie and bogeyed four of his final seven holes to make the cut on the number at even-par 140.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Each of the co-leaders presents a compelling tale, but the player in the spotlight is the man in third. Fowler has gone more than a year without a victory of any kind, and he is now in a position to break out of that drought on a familiar course and against a leaderboard that doesn’t feature many top-ranked players.

Shot of the day: It wasn’t the best shot, but it was certainly one of the more entertaining ones as Shawn Stefani stripped down to his underwear to play a shot from a lake on the par-4 sixth. Stefani successfully got his ball back into play, but the subsequent bogey didn’t help his effort to make the cut as he missed by two shots.

Quote of the day: “I feel like it’s time for me to start finishing off some more events when I am in this position.” – Fowler