PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The winds were already ripping from the northeast with the first players off at 6:50 a.m. today at the Honda Classic.
Winds are forecast to gust to 30 mph. That’s bad news for navigating the Bear Trap, the trio of holes on PGA National’s back nine (Nos. 15-16-17). The northeasterly wind is into the players' faces in all the shots to the greens there.
It only took seven players for someone to rinse a shot at the 15th, a 179-yard par 3 with water right and behind the green. Chris Stroud plunked his shot in the pond there. Ricky Barnes rinsed one in the threesome behind Stroud and Ernie Els, the 2009 Honda Classic champ, found the water. It took just four players before someone to get wet at the 17th, a 190-yard par 3. Michael Connell had the honors of being the first into that pond.
The water around the Bear Trap holes swallowed 136 balls over four rounds last year. The holes ranked as the second toughest trio on the PGA Tour, trailing only Quail Hollow’s three finishing holes.