Honda Classic. Two Brits Tied at the Top

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The third round finally got completed and two Brits sit at the top on the Honda Classic leaderboard, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter as the final round gets suspended due to darkness.

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Ian Poulter / Getty Images

Poults has played seven last round holes and Paul nine, both sit on top of the Honda Classic leaderboard at -7 under par for the title as the tournament heads into a Monday finish.

Poults had his problems in the final round today, he shanked his tee shot on the par 3 fifth and watched helplessly as it bounced off a cart path and plunged into the water, it ended in a double bogey. He followed that by pulling his next tee shot into the water before eventually settling for bogey, and would not report his words to the press. He followed that experience with a birdie on seven;

“It’s not for newspaper or Internet worthy, I was pissed. I was seriously pissed.”

“It was a lack of concentration, I tried to take too much off an 8‑iron and hit a beautiful shank.”

“I was internally very angry, shall we say. And when I do that, obviously my heart rate goes up slightly and obviously that sometimes is what it needs to kick in the adrenaline.”

“So the shot on 7 was fueled with adrenaline, because I was so pissed off.”

“It was a good swing, I guess it’s been a long day, a long few days and I was just saying to my son, Luke, right there, look what happens when you forget to concentrate. Silly things happen.”

“Tiring, and made a couple of really bad swings on 5 and 6. But that kind of angered me inside enough to spark a little bit of energy there to hit a good shot on 7.”

Paul wanted to keep going, he hates a break in momentum;

“I thought the wind was favorable, so I thought I would get on with it, the lie is not great. I might be against the collar in the rough.”

“It just breaks up momentum, some guys will carry it through to Monday. Others won’t and that’s very difficult to predict.”

“You just hope you wake up tomorrow and you feel like you’ve got the same kind of golf swing and the putts are going in the hole.”

“I never like to look back, but I feel like when I was playing some great golf in 2009, 2010, it feels like that kind of stuff.”

“Probably even more so than that time in my golf career because off the golf course, I’m so relaxed and happy with where I’m at with (wife) Pollyanna and (son) Lex.”

“It feels great. I think the combination of being extremely happy off the course and confidence on the course, I think I’m maybe playing as good golf, if not better than I’ve played in the past.”

Patrick Reed is in third position at -6 under par, so far in his final round he is at even par through seven holes, but it will be  long day tomorrow, with a lot at stake and the pressure will be on everybody.

There is a posse of five players at -4 under par, including Phil Mickelson, so anything could happen.

 

 

 

Honda Classic. Play Suspended Due To Lightning.

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At the conclusion of play of the suspended 2nd Round Padraig Harrington sits on top of the Honda Classic leaderboard at -7 under par. Play was then suspended at the start of the third round due to the threat of lightning.

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Padraig Harrington / Getty Images

Padraig has completed two rounds of the Honda Classic and is at the top of the leaderboard going into round three at -7 under par, following his 66.

He said golf is fun, and fascinating;

“I’m fascinated with the game, I love it. It’s a different sort of fun, yeah.”

“I think I’m in a good place that I can deliver more performances like this.”

“I feel like there’s good days ahead, so, you know, I’m not thinking, Oh, I’ve got to do it and it will be a long time before it comes around again.”

“I feel I’m in a good place with my game and I feel I give myself plenty of opportunities like this going forward.”

Patrick Reed is in second place at -6 under par, the same score he finished round two with yesterday.

Ian Poulter and Brendan Steele are tied in third position at -5 under par. Ian has been using a fang-dangled putting machine in practice, and he said it seems to be working;

“Right now it’s working pretty good.”

“The way I feel about my game, I’m hitting good shots, I’m holing a few putts and obviously if you’re going to do that, then you’ve got half a chance.”

“My mental side, I feel confident, provided I keep doing the right things, I keep working on straightening those areas that are weaker than my strengths and if I do that, then obviously I’m hoping I can improve.”

 Phil Mickelson is in contention, a second round of -3 under par 67 giving him a -2 under par total, he commented on the stop – start play, and extra holes on the day;

“I think that if you get into a good rhythm for the day, you get extra holes to play, and I think that guys that have a hot hand, instead of playing 18, they have a chance to play 27, 31 or 32.”

“I think it could be a real benefit if you’re playing well.”

“You get greens like this that are just perfect condition and very soft movement around the holes and you’re going to make a lot of putts, it just builds confidence.”

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“That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen it rain.” Russell Knox.

Honda Classic. Play Suspeded Due to Darkness. Rory in a Dark Place of his Own.

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The second round of the Honda Classic has been suspended due to darkness, with Brendan Steele leading. Rory is in a dark place of his own, missing the cut here.

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Brendan Steele / Getty Images

Brendon sits on top of the Honda Classic leaderboard at -8 under par, despite having only completed four holes of the round at a wet, windy and delayed golf day at PGA National in Florida.

Patrick Reed is in second place, he has completed both rounds at -3 under par 67 for a -6 under par total.

“It just seems like when the wind is blowing here, it allows me to get creative and hit more of my shot‑shaping shots I normally hit.”

“It’s fun golf and especially with the weather with how it’s been, it’s playing how I like this golf course to play.”

“The main thing is I feel like I just keep on improving day‑in and day‑out.”

“I feel like I’ve improved on little things that I’ve needed to be a little more consistent, and luckily we’ve been in the hunt coming down Sunday. We’ve done pretty well.”

Jim Herman is currently in third position, having completed three holes in his second round, for a -5 under par total.

Luke Donald has completed his two rounds and is sharing 4th spot with Ian Poulter,who has played eight of his second round, and Padraig Harrington has finished six, all at -4 under par for the tournament.

Luke will get a sleep in tomorrow, and plenty of time to review the putting mistake that has been the key to his disappointing form, he also said not to worry too much about Rory;

“I’ll obviously get to sleep in, in my own bed, as well, which is nice.”

“It’s something that’s certainly been missing a little bit the last month or two, and it’s nice to get back on Bermuda greens.”

“I feel a lot more comfortable on these greens for some reason.”

“Rory has been by far the best player in the world for the last year or so. I wouldn’t worry and read too much into it.” 

Rory let his feelings be known in no uncertain terms;

“I’m pissed off, I don’t like missing cuts. You want to be playing on the weekend, and I’m not there.”

“I guess after coming off a three‑week break,and then felt a little, just a little, I wouldn’t say rusty, but just not quite on top of my game Thursday.”

 “Then, I mean, I felt like I was trying to get something going and couldn’t. Coming off three weeks off and playing in conditions like these, it sort of shows you where your game’s at.”

 

Honda Classic. Qualifier Jim Herman Leads.

 

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Qualifier Jim Herman leads the Honda Classic on a windy day at PGA National. 

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Jim Herman / Getty Images

Jim shot an opening -5 under par 65 at the Honda Classic to lead the tournament by one shot at a windy PGA National.

“I don’t mind it blowing, I feel like I can control the golf ball pretty well with my iron game. So yeah, it was OK that the wind was blowing.”

“It was a little unexpected to get to five under, I was trying to keep it around par.”

“It’s nice playing out here, I definitely enjoy it more than the golf shop.”

Brendon Steele is in second place at -4 under par after his first round 66, with three players tied in the third spot at -3 under par; Padraig Harrington, Martin Flores and Patrick Reed all battled the wind.

Patrick mentioned the stiff breeze;

“I don’t think I’ve played in that much wind in a long time.”

“When I hit 6‑iron normally 200 yards, I’m pulling 6‑iron from 170, it’s tough.”

“The main thing was just to stay in my golf swing and just be comfortable and try to be confident that that’s the club to hit from those distances.”

“You could play it to the fat part of greens, but even when you hit it to 7-8 feet you had to see which way the wind was going, even on putts.”

“Just makes it a little more difficult, and to be able to finish strong like I did, especially after struggling on the back nine to birdie two of the last three, gives me good confidence going into Friday.”

Padraig spoke about momentum during his -3 under par 67;

“On a windy day, momentum is bigger than any other day.”

“I came out starting the year with really high expectations, and I fell right back into struggling.”

“I was confident in doing the right things. I just really, really struggled.”

“When I wasn’t playing great, I kept walking off the golf course feeling like I played 70 shots and signed for 73 shots.”

“Today, I feel like I played in 70 but signed for 67, so that’s a nice place to be.”

Starting his 2015 U.S. campaign with difficulty, World number one Rory McIlroy struggled to sign for a +3 over par 73, he also mentioned the windy conditions;

“The conditions were obviously very tricky from the start. You know, from the first hole, it was always going to be a day like that.”

 “At least the wind started to die down for us the last few holes”

“I feel like I salvaged something out of the round the last couple of holes, but it was just a day to keep trying, not to give up.”

“I’m coming off a three-week break, so these were tough conditions to come back in. Guys were all struggling. It was a grind out there.”

“Today wasn’t what I wanted to start with, but if I can get it into red numbers tomorrow I’m right back in the tournament. I looked at the forecast for Friday morning, and it looks nice. Hopefully the conditions will be a little easier.”

 

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Honda Classic. Rory Rolls On.

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Rory McIlroy rolls on at the Honda Classic taking a two shot lead into the final round at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, in Florida.

Rory McIlroy will take a two-shot lead into the final round at PGA National. (Smith/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory carded a third round -1 under par 69 to keep his nose in front of the chasing pack, posting a total of -12 under par. The 2012 winner at PGA National, is looking to go wire to wire here. Rory spoke about not making mistakes;

” It’s all about not making mistakes, it’s about limiting the damage. You’re going to make a few bogeys out there. If you limit those, hit fairways and greens, that’s what I’m going to try to do tomorrow. There’s still eighteen holes to go, but I’m feeling comfortable with where I am.”

Russell Henley is in second place at -10 under par, his third round -2 under par 68 contained an Eagle 2 at the par four 14th hole. He is trying to ignore what Rory is doing;

” I’m trying not to pay attention to what Rory is doing, obviously, he’s playing great and he’s been in this situation a little bit more than me. But I still have a lot of confidence and I’m just going to try to play my game and not worry about what he’s doing too much.”

Russell Knox carded a third round -2 under par 68, for -9 under par total, and he is the only player among the top eight who has never won on the PGA TOUR.

Tiger Woods put together his best round for a while, a -5 under par 65, that shot him up the leaderboard to T17. He declared he is still in the hunt, even though he is seven shots off the pace of Rory;

“Today was a positive day, hit the ball well and made some putts and got myself back in the hunt.”

Brendon de Jong fell away badly while playing alongside Rory, he collapsed with a third round +6 over par 76, taking him out of contention. He is now T24, a drop of 22 places on the day;

“It was just unfortunately one of those bad days, it’s going to happen if you play this game for long enough. I just hit too many bad shots, I was putting for too many pars on this golf course.”

The Honda Classic. McIlroy Makes His Mark.

dragon logo darkThe Honda Classic LogoRory McIlroy makes his mark at the Honda Classic on the PGA National course at Palm Beach Gardens, taking a first round lead.

The Upshot: Rory roars

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

 Rory carded a -7 under par 63 opening round, taking just 25 putts after hitting 14 greens in regulation in the opening round. Scoring birdies on the last two holes at PGA National giving him a one-shot lead, after the first round of The Honda Classic. By contrast,  he was +7 over par through eight holes last year when he became so frustrated with mounting expectations and a slumping game that he walked off the course in the middle of the second round. He said it was a mistake he would never repeat;

” It’s not something I really thought about out there. Coming in this week, I knew that I was playing well and I just wanted to try and get off to a good start. Regardless of what happened last year or where it is, it’s always nice to shoot a round like this and get yourself in the mix early.”

“You can’t fake it around here, you have to play well to shoot good scores, and I was able to do that today. I’ve reached a point now where I’m very comfortable with everything in my game and my swing. I’m seeing shots the way I want to see them. When I do that, I feel like the scores are just a byproduct of all the hard work and making good swings. I’m in a great place I couldn’t be happier.”

Russell Henley is in second place at -6 under par with a round of 64. He  opened with five birdies in six holes before cooling off. He put his good start  down to his career at the University of Georgia, which prepared him to face some of the more difficult venues on the PGA Tour;

“I think college golf may have something to do with that. Most courses you play are pretty difficult, at least the ones where you play the best teams and all of the highest-ranked tournaments. They’re pretty tough courses. Getting off to a good start here is pretty important, every hole is challenging, and you have to decide what to do with the wind and where it’s coming from.”

Rory Sabbatini, William McGirt and Jamie Donaldson are all tied in third place at -5 under par after their opening rounds of 65.

Phil Mickelson is not too familiar with this course, and it showed with his first round of even par 72;

“I’m a little uncertain at times where I want to go because I’m not as familiar with the course, but you should be able to pick that up quickly with the yardage books and I’ve got a great caddie. So those things are not as important as the execution, hitting the right shot and pulling it off. I really like this golf course, I think it’s a wonderful test of golf. I think it’s a very difficult, hard golf course but when you hit good shots, you get rewarded with birdies opportunities.”

Tiger Woods was one shot worse than Phil, carding a +1 over par round of 71; Tiger said he did not make too much;

“Well, I didn’t make much, it certainly wasn’t together today. I had four good looks early and didn’t make any of them. Then I made three good saves in a row at 16, 17, 18, which was nice, and then didn’t really hit the ball that well on the back nine. Then I started putting better. Figures.”

“We were talking about it out there today in our group, how different this golf course played this year compared to last year. They were as slippery as can be last year where now they are sticky and slower.”

Rory Regrets Folly about Wisdom Teeth.

Rory McIlroy regrets walking off the course at the Honda Classic, and lying to all and sundry about the reason for his sudden withdrawal, initially saying his game was in a dark place. Then his management company came up with the novel idea that Rory had sudden toothache, it just had to be his wisdom tooth, such irony.

Rory McIlroy grabs his nose. I thought it was your tooth! (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

The Worlds Number One ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy had to eat humble pie, with no sign of teething problems, when he fronted up to the media to announce the truth behind his Honda Classic withdrawal.

” I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do,’ no matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut. At that point in time, I was just all over the place, I saw red, it was a mistake and everyone makes mistakes and I’m learning from them. Some people have the pleasure of making mistakes in private, most of my mistakes are in the public eye. I actually think in the long run, Friday will be a blessing in disguise, it was like it just sort of released a valve and all that sort of pressure that I’ve been putting on myself just went away. And I was like, just go out and have fun. It’s not life or death out there. It’s only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year. I’ve learned from it and as I said, it won’t happen again.”

A contrite Rory spoke for 25 minutes,  with two of his agents from Horizon Sports, Colin Morrissey and Sean O’Flaherty in close attendance, along with Nike representatives and his coach Michael Bannon. Rory said he will have to learn to tough it out;

“I learned that when the tough gets going, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out. There’s no excuse for quitting and it doesn’t set a good example for the kids watching me, trying to emulate what I do. It wasn’t good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournaments, the people coming out watching me. I feel like I let a lot of people down and I am very sorry. Me and all you guys are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed. I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts. I don’t want there to be friction, it’s not like I want it to be a strained relationship because it’s going to be a long one, I hope.”

Ernie Els,  a four-time Major winner, who is also playing in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster said he regretted not stopping Rory from walking off.

It was obviously a heat of the moment thing, he is who he is. You’ve got to respect what the individual at that moment is like, and he wanted to get off. And we obviously heard that he had his wisdom tooth was bothering him, and if that was the reason, that was that. I would have been out of my depth at that stage to say something to him if something was bothering him. So I didn’t, but I thought I should have.”

Ernie and Mark Wilson were the three-some on the ill-fated round, Ernie went on to say when he was young he had done some silly things, and his experience in the game could have helped out Rory;

“That’s why I thought I needed to say something. Listen, I was also 23; I’m 43 now. I look back, I did a lot of silly things and what he’s done is nothing compared to what I did; speak to my parents. But when it comes to being where he’s at, you’ve got to maybe think a little bit more than two minutes. In a couple of years’ time, he won’t even think about this or talk about this. If he wins this week, it will be the last thing we talk about, it will be history and that’s what it should be. It’s something that’s happened and we should move on from that. He’s a great kid, he’s a great player and if he admits he’s made a mistake, then that’s that and let’s move on.”