Wide Open Race at Honda Classic


2006 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Mark Wilson posted his second consecutive round of 4-under-par 66 on Saturday to take sole possession of the 54-hole lead at the Honda Classic. He stands at 6-under-par 204 and is one ahead at PGA National Resort and Spa.
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley, like Mark Wilson, is seeking his first PGA TOUR win. (WireImage)
Boo Weekley birdied two of his final four holes in round three to polish off a 4-under 66. He is alone in second place at minus-5, followed by Daniel Chopra, who shot a 68 to come in at 4-under-par 206.
The overnight co-leaders struggled on the back nine Saturday.
Charlie Wi, who shared first with Robert Allenby at minus-5 on Friday, holed out from a bunker for a birdie at 17, but only managed a 2-over 72. He is tied for fourth place with Steve Stricker, who carded 70 on Saturday, at 3-under-par 207.
Allenby was one worse than Wi in the third round with a 73 and is alone in sixth at minus-2.
For the first time in a number of years, the PGA TOUR returned to PGA National, and it has clearly dominated the players. Nineteen golfers broke par on Saturday, and the lowest rounds belonged to the top two players on the leaderboard.
Wilson eagled the par-5 third hole to jump up the leaderboard, then found himself tied for the lead at 5 under par thanks to a 5-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
At the par-4 sixth, Wilson drove into a fairway bunker and could only play his second back into the fairway. He knocked his third to 13 feet, but missed the par putt, falling one off the pace.
Stricker, Allenby and Wi held the lead throughout much of the front nine, but Wilson got within one with a 6-foot birdie putt at the 11th. He rolled in a 28-footer for birdie at the 12th and Wilson shared first once again, this time with Allenby.
The Aussie tumbled down the board with a bogey at 12, then a drive that landed in pine straw near trees at 13 led to another bogey. Wilson was not immune from the dangers of PGA National and after his tee ball found sand at the par-4 13th, he bogeyed the hole to fall to 5 under par.
Late in the back nine, pars were good scores and that's what Wilson tallied. He parred holes 13-17, then hit his third to seven feet to set up a closing birdie at the par-5 last.
'The putts went in again today,' said Wilson. 'I didn't drive it great early, but hit some great shots coming in. I came out and played one of the best rounds of my life yesterday, then played really solid today. I'm excited for tomorrow.'
Wilson will be in search of his first win on the PGA TOUR Sunday. He has never even owned a piece of the 54-hole lead on tour until Saturday, but he's made all five cuts this season.
'I'll be anxious,' acknowledged Wilson, whose best finish on TOUR was a tie for third place at the 2005 Texas Open. 'I feel comfortable with myself no matter what happens tomorrow.'
Weekley is in a similar position as Wilson. He has not won on tour and spent time on the Nationwide Tour after a brief stint on the PGA TOUR five years ago.
Weekley also eagled No. 3, but bogeyed the fourth. He birdied the par-3 fifth, then parred his next nine holes, which was outstanding considering the difficulty of PGA National.
He birdied the par-3 15th to reach 4 under par. At the last, Weekley laid up with his second, then knocked his third to 9 feet. He holed the putt to get within one of first place one week after a sixth-place finish at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun.
'It made me feel better with my swing and where I'm going,' said Weekley.
Former champion Padraig Harrington (70), Tripp Isenhour (68), Jason Dufner (68), Stephen Marino (68), Jose Coceres (69) and Camilo Villegas (71) are knotted in seventh place at 1-under-par 209.
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