Posted: 6:52 am Saturday, March 2nd, 2013
By Matt Porter
This is the premier place to follow Tiger Woods and the rest of the PGA Tour stars as they return to the Honda Classic. We’ll be inside the ropes all day Saturday, so keep it locked here.
3:00 Nick Thompson sits tied for fourth after an up-and-down round of 1-under 34: par, eagle, a double bogey, two bogeys, and three birdies.
2:45 Wind blowing people down the leader board. If Tiger had held onto his 3-under, he’d be right in this thing — there’s only 15 players at 4-under or better.
2:19 Yang finishes 3-under 68 and sits 4-under for the tournament, tied for 12th with Rickie Fowler and a couple others. Leader Luke Guthrie has gone par-bogey-birdie and remains 9-under through three holes.
1:58 Wind has picked up on the Champion Course. The best completed round is a 2-under 68, achieved by Brandt Jobe, Tiger’s partner David Lynn, Darron Stiles and Peter Hanson. Y.E. Yang, who won this thing in 2009, is at 3-under through 17. With the wind, there’s a chance the leaders could slide backward.
1:27 Some start for Nick Thompson of Coral Springs, brother of Lexi. He goes par, bogey, eagle, double bogey, birdie through his first five holes. He’s 5-under and sits in a tie for eighth. If he gets an ace, does that mean he’s hit for the cycle?
12:37 p.m. Tiger says he missed an opportunity to score big today. The pins were accessible, the greens were smooth and not too fast. The wind was a factor, but wasn’t harsh. “If you play well, you can shoot five or six under par, there’s no doubt,” he said. “I thought realistically five or six under par would be a good score and I thought if I post that, I would be within six or seven shots of the lead going into tomorrow, at worst.”
But he didn’t, and remains nine back of leader Luke Guthrie, who tees off at 1:40. Even if the lead holds at nine, Woods needs to get it going early tomorrow to have a chance.
11:57 No. 18, par 5, 556 yards. Tiger’s second shot lands in another unexpected place: the grandstands to the left of the green. An middle-aged gentleman is standing and holding it aloft. Tiger approaches. “It’s in the stands, sir,” a police officer says, telling him what he knows. The man tosses it to him as officials plead with the crowd to move back. Tough job parting these seas.
No penalty here. Grandstands at his back, Tiger tries to get his drop to settle on the cart path. He’s allowed to drop in the grass in front. He’s got to clear three imposing bunkers to get to the green, which bears the pin at the far side. He clears it all — and bounces into a trap short of the water.
Tiger gets out of the sand again and holes out. He cards another hard-won par, finishing Saturday as he did the first two days: even-par 70.
11:27 No. 17, par 3, 190 yards over water. Tiger stands and stares for a good 10 seconds after his tee shot should have landed — neither he nor his caddy, Joe LaCava, can locate it. Joined by Lynn and his caddy, they get to digging and searching the wet turf and shallow water in front of the green. A couple standing in their front lawn calls to Woods, trying to help him find it. They point the men around. “Where did it go in?” Woods asks. It may be lost in the soft muck. Or the water. The people on the bank don’t know. Neither do the players and caddies. The crowd murmurs.
PGA rules state he has five minutes to look for a lost ball. If the ball has crossed the hazard line — about six inches above the water — he can take a drop.
Time is up. Since he can’t find his ball, he is penalized a stroke and trudges back to the tee. He drops a shot on the front of the green, laying three. He two-putts for bogey, falling back to even for the first time since he opened the day.
11:17 No. 16, par 4, 434 yards. Pretty fairway wood off the tee gets a roar from the gallery, which is thick around the box. Upon noticing Lynn’s drive is equidistant, Woods tosses a tee to see who’ll approach the green first. It’s Tiger, and he attacks the stick. He’s happy with it. Lands just over a duo of bunkers and within 15 feet of the cup. He leaves his birdie chance short. Par; 2-under with two holes to play.
11:03 No. 15, par 3, 179 yards over water. Bear Trap time. Woods is on, but his ball settles at the foot of a ridge, 30 feet away. Lynn, too. Lynn just misses an inch right, and Tiger takes the same line. He misses the birdie try a half-inch right. Par to remain 2-under.
10:56 No. 14, par 4, 465 yards. Woods and Lynn hit perfect drives that settle in the fairway within a few feet of each other. Both on the green in two. Woods makes par. Bear Trap ahead, and Tiger grabs a contemplative sip of the red-colored Fuse drink in his bag. Needs a strong run through the Bear Trap to make up ground.
10:45 No. 13, par 4, 388 yards. Boomer off the tee, but it’s right and roughed up. Despite that, he attacks and lands his second shot in the heavy stuff next to the green, about six feet from the hole. He nearly dunks a chip for birdie, but takes par to stay 2-under.
10:29 No. 12, par 4, 427 yards. On in two and pin-high. He lingers, disappointed, after following through on a missed 11-foot birdie putt. Collects par to stay 2-under.
10:24 Tiger’s mom, Kultida Woods, is walking along the ropes, following her son.
10:17 No. 11, par 4, 450 yards. Woods hits a smooth tee shot and finds the green with his approach over a water hazard that would crumble an amateur. Two-putt for par. He stays 2-under.
10:11 No. 10, par 4, 508 yards. A long par 4. Two shots to get close, but Tiger’s in the sand again. Hits a greenside bunker for the fourth time today. He gets out and on with his third shot, but it doesn’t get far. He makes a swiping kick of the sand. For the first time today, he doesn’t save par out of the sand. It’s his first bogey. He falls to 2-under.
9:53 No. 9, par 4, 421 yards. Fairway wood over water to the center of the strip. Approach falls into the trap left of the hole. Another moment in the sand. But another save; he gets up the face of the bunker and rolls it three feet past the cup. Cards par going into the turn, 3-under for both day and Honda.
9:43 Now he’s feeling real good. He rolls in a downhill birdie putt of 20 feet, hearing another roar. Moves to 3-under for the day.
9:37 No. 8, par 4, 427 yards. Woods laces a long iron, leaving it 30 yards shy of the water in front of the green. Follows that with a gorgeous approach, over the water and to the back of the green. Feeling good. Smiles at two young girls wearing orange-and-black tiger-striped face paint. He lightly taps fists with four teenage spectators, holding out their hands as he walks by. Definitely feeling good.
9:33 No. 7, par 3, 226 yards. Tiger’s on the beach again, but hears a tremendous roar from the gallery as he gets out to within two feet. Makes par, an outstanding one, to remain 2-under for the day and the tournament. Lynn birdies to tie Woods for the day.
9:26 No. 6, par 4, 479 yards. Tiger’s been in the water the last two days, and coincidentally or not, he has shed the black rain pants he wore to start the round — the same ones he wore when he went fishing on Thursday. None of that today, as he sets up away from the drink and sends it right rough, into the gallery and behind a tree.
He’s out of the bad stuff, but lands in a valley short of the green. Tough third shot is a chip over a ridge to the back of the green … but Tiger leaves it short. Seven-foot par putt drops. He escapes with par to stay 2-under. Battling that hole this week.
Have to feel for Lynn, who lands a par of his own. When Woods makes his putt first, the gallery scampers off to get position at the next hole. Lynn’s caddie has several times pleaded for them to be still. It’s a losing battle.
9:05 No. 5, par 3, 217 yards. Breeze blowing right to left, Tiger hits a pretty draw over water and within 10 feet. Missed a chance though; his birdie try rolls left. Par leaves him 2-under with his favorite hole coming up.
8:52 No. 4, par 4, 376 yards. Mid-iron to the elbow of a dogleg left. Tiger’s focused, intent on making up plenty of ground today. “He looks like he does on TV,” a young fan says after Tiger tees off.
But Woods’ aggressive play, a wedge over a steep fronting bunker, falls short and in the sand. Displeased, he splashes out softly and saves par. Still 2-under through 4.
8:42 No. 3, par 5, 538 yards. Tee box is back and to the left, and Woods mashes his drive over the gallery. Center of the fairway. Aggressive again, he goes for the green and is on in two. Eagle try of about 35 feet breaks too early. He’ll take birdie. 2-under through 3.
8:30 No. 2, par 4, 464 yards. Woods and Lynn pull their tee shots right, Tiger in a fairway bunker, Lynn in the rough. Both out and on the green. Both have long putts for birdie. Both leave them close and make par.
8:22 An aggressive shot over a greenfront bunker puts Tiger four feet from the hole. Birdie. 1-under through one.
Playing partner David Lynn, of England, makes a long birdie putt. He’s also 1-under.
8:15 No. 1, par 4, 365 yards. Tiger, wearing all black in chilly conditions, places his long iron fairway left. Acknowledges some encouraging shouts as he walks up the fairway. “Vamo, Tiger,” one guy says, to which Woods tips his cap.
6:50 a.m. Welcome back. It’s the weekend, and Woods is nine strokes back of the lead after grinding out two even-par rounds to start the Honda. He’s got to get it going if he wants to be in the mix tomorrow.
It’s another chilly day for North Palm Beach County, with temps in the mid-50s and a steady breeze of 10-15 mph. It’s expected to warm to the mid-60s. The breeze, however, could wake up the Champion Course, which has played fairly well so far in relatively benign conditions.
Woods, No. 2 in the World Rankings, is the highest-ranked player playing in the tournament after defending Honda champ Rory McIlroy quit on Friday, citing the toothache heard ’round the golf world.
Tiger tees off at 8:15. We’ll see you then.