Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:51 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Given the title sponsor, in car talk, the first round of the Honda Classic was like a front-end collision.
No air bags deployed, but that didn't mean that air wasn't blowing.
In a steady 30 mph breeze, the scoring average through the partially completed opening round was 73.826 for the field, or a staggering 3.83 strokes over par, which is rarefied air indeed in PGA Tour circles.
The highest scoring at any tour-sanctioned event in 2010 came at the difficult U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where players averaged 3.98 strokes over par for the week.
"It's U.S. Open-like conditions out there," said Nick Price, a three-time major winner, after shooting 70 on Thursday.
For comparison, the highest single-day scoring average in 2011 came in the final round at the AT&T Pro-Am, also at Pebble Beach, where the field averaged 1.225 shots over par in the final round.
Play was suspended because of darkness at 6:25 p.m. ET Thursday. Of the scores logged so far, there were 650 bogeys or double-bogeys and only 271 birdies or eagles -- not exactly the usual ratio at a tour venue.
Except maybe herebouts, anyway. In 2010, PGA National had the highest scoring average relative to par among regular tour stops at 1.64 over par for the entire week.
Similarly breezy conditions are forecast for Friday's second round.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:39 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Y.E. Yang is in familiar territory.
Before the gritty South Korean became known as a Tiger tamer for beating the then-world No. 1 at the PGA Championship three years ago, Yang won his first PGA Tour event at the Honda Classic.
Despite withering winds on Thursday, the first Asian ever to win a major championship fired a 2-under 68 to move within a shot of leader Spencer Levin at PGA National.
Yang was one of the last to finish before play was suspended because of darkness as round on the win-tossed course averaged well above 5 hours.
"The good thing about having a late tee time today, you can actually look at the scores and determine how you're going to play and what you're aiming at, what score you're aiming at," Yang said. "So I thought probably just breaking even would be good in these conditions and I played like that, and I played conservative, tried to play even, tried to par.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:20 pm
First, Jack Nicklaus offered an opinion.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 5:31 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Nick Price hasn't won on the PGA Tour in nine years.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:47 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The worst day of Rory McIlroy's professional life might also have been the most instructive.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:22 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Adam Scott had pieced together a solid, steady, and under the circumstances, superlative round.
The winds were howling, scores were soaring, and yet he was level par for the day as he stood on the first tee of the three-hole stretch called the Bear Trap.
Forty-five minutes later, he was licking his wounds and running low on golf balls.
Scott hit three balls in the water on the fateful back-nine stretch, named in honor of the guy who handled the course redesign a few years ago, Jack Nicklaus. For the 30-year-old Aussie, it all began to unravel when he ballooned his 4-iron tee shot on the par-3 15th into the water. His next shot, a 9-iron from the penalty drop zone, got caught in a gust of wind and also resulted in a splashdown.
By the time he cleaned up the double-dunk mess, he'd made a quintuple-bogey 8. Two holes later, on the equally dicey par-3 17th, he dunked another 4-iron and made a double-bogey.
Scott finished with a 7-over 77, meaning all the carnage came on the Bear Trap par-3 holes.
"That’s what happens," Scott said. "That’s what those holes are all about, I guess."
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:03 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla . -- Spencer Levin is an Iron Man.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 3:31 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- It took 5 1/2 hours for Kyle Stanley to play the opening round of the Honda Classic on Thursday.
The interminable pain and suffering was worth it.
Stanley, a rookie from Clemson, was in the final group of the morning wave, but kept his head down -- not to mention his drives -- and finished with a 2-under 68. He was one of five players in the morning to break parr.
"I felt like I controlled my golf ball out there," said Stanley, a Q-school graduate. "It was slow, but you could expect that with how windy it was. This course is tough with no wind."
Stanley, who hasn't missed a cut in five starts this year, finished a career-best T13 last week at the PGA Tour's opposite event outside Cancun. He began experimenting with a low driver shot and used it again with great success in the 30 mph winds at Honda.
"It's a tee ball that goes about head high," he said.
By the time he and his playing partners reached the 18th hole Thursday, the wind was so strong, spray from fountains located in a greenside pond coould be felt on the putting green, which is located about 100 yards downwind.