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Tag:honda thursday
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Honda Classic an old-fashioned blowout

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.
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Yang looking for Honda double dip

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. 

"And it worked out quite well. A few holes I got lucky and ended up under par."

Yang saiid the course's vaunted closing stretch of holes was nearly unbearable.

"The toughest holes on the course, maybe on tour, as well," he said. "I had a lot of wind coming in so really tried to play conservative and just make par.  I had to putt that into consideration, not just play by play but strategy as well, playing the overall course, probably have to be the same tomorrow."

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Trevino to Tiger: Ditch the coaches, start over

First, Jack Nicklaus offered an opinion.

Now another esteemed Hall of Famer from the same era has weighed in on Tiger Woods' playing predicament.

Longtime fan favorite Lee Trevino, who won six major titles, said Thursday that he believes Woods should jettison his coach and go back to the basics that put him in the winner's circle in the first place.

"My suggestion to Tiger Woods, which I don't know will ever happen, is he's got to look at the film from when he started winning all those tournaments and go right back to what he was doing and get rid of all these people," Trevino said in Dallas.

Trevino, 71, was speaking at a luncheon to promote the Byron Nelson Championship. Similarly to Nicklaus, Trevino figures that Woods, in the midst of a 17-month victory drought on the PGA Tour, will eventually solve his swing issues.

"He'll find his game," Trevino said. "He's too good a player. He's got desire. He hasn't lost that yet. He just got off the road a little bit and it's going to take him a little while to get his head on straight, but he's Tiger Woods. He hasn't lost the ability to play. He might not be as intimidating as he was."

The comments were first reported by ESPN.com's Dallas website.

Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 5:31 pm
 

Price dons his golfing throwback jersey

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Nick Price hasn't won on the PGA Tour in nine years.

He hadn't even teed it up on the regular tour, against the flatbellies, since 2008.

In the first round of the Honda Classic, he turned back the hands of time, then turned the scoreboard upside down.

The popular 54-year-old, who has three major titles to his credit and long ago was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, fired the most impressive number of the first round Thursday at PGA National, finishing with level-par 70 on the most difficult scoring day of the 2011 season.

At one point, Price cllimbed into the top six before a bogey in the 17th dropped him a few slots. Price decided to play because he still had an exemption to burn on the regular tour by virtue of ranking in the top 50 in career earnings, and elected to use it this year, while he's been playing well and before he got too old.

"It's fun to be out here and good to see my friends," Price said. "Guys I played with over the years."

He out-played nearly all of them, too. Amazingly, when he finished his round, he was tied for eighth with a group of players that included Lee Westwood, who last week was ranked world No. 1. Only six players had broken par on an extremely windy day when Price signed his card.

Over the past month, Champions Tour players such as Fred Couples and John Cook have contended on Sunday in regular tour events, which Price said was a point of inspiration. Although, technically, he said the historic run made by Tom Watson at the British Open in 2009 really opened eyes to what might be possible.

"Go back to the British Open when Tom Watson played so well," Price said. "That inspired all of us."

Price, always a classic ball-striker who won despite a putting stroke that was average at best, looked like his old self. 

"I kind of wore out my long irons today," he said. "I don't think I have any grooves left ... It was U.S. Open-like conditions." 

For a guy who won three majors, including consecutive Grand Slam titles in his PGA Tour player-of-the-year season in 1994, that doubtlessly worked to his advantage.

"I really want to make the cut badly," he said. "It's an achievement at 54, with the course so hard, against these young guys."

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:47 pm
 

Old Course blow gives Rory new wind in sails

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The worst day of Rory McIlroy's professional life might also have been the most instructive.

The Northern Ireland star shot a 3-over 73 in the first round of the Honda Classic on Thursday on a day that was eerily reminiscent of his second-round blowup at the British Open last summer. Or, at least, the conditions were.

McIlroy had shot 63 in the first round at St. Andrews, then got caught in winds so strong on the second day that play was suspended. He finished with an 80 and couldn't stop the bleeding. Winds that day blew at 40 mph, blowing balls on greens. Thursday's onshore gusts topped 30 mph at PGA National, but McIlroy said the conditions were very similar.

The results were not, however, another positive sign in the career trajectory of the world's No. 8 player.

“I learned a lot from that,’’ said McIlroy, 21. “I always think about that day when I’m playing in conditions like this. You have to realize that maybe 74, 75 isn’t a bad score. You just hang in there and make pars, try to hit it to the middle of the greens and two putt.

"Even though that day was a very bad day in my career, it actually did me a world of good for days like today where I can just hang in there and grind it out.’’

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Bear Trap feels like claptrap to Scott

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."
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:03 pm
 

Levin lovin' winds for second straight week

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla . -- Spencer Levin is an Iron Man.

No, that's not an endorsement plug for a new line of metal clubs or another comic-book action movie. It's the reality of his scheduling this season, which is reminiscent of Vijay Singh at the height of his warhose powers.

Levin shot a 3-under 67 on Thursday at the Honda Classic to take the lead in the morning wave, which is remarkable considering the long, slow march he's been on this season. He hasn't missed a event in eight weeks starting at the Sony Open, which means he's been to Hawaii, California, Arizona, back to California, then last week to Mexico before heading north for the Florida Swing.

After losing in a playoff last week at the Mayakoba Golf Classic near Cancun, the third-year player is positioned to extend the streak by another week. If he finishes in the top five, he'll earn enough FedEx Cup points to crack the field next week at the World Golf Championships event at Doral outside Miami.

The 26-year-old has finished in the top  12 at three straight starts and ranks 13th in earnings after winning $1.2 million last year. Losing on the first hole of a playoff last week was another step in a pretty steady ascent for the dimunitive Californian. He was ready to handle the rigors of the day. Two years ago as a rookie, that might not have been the case.

"I think you just have to be prepared to know that you're going to have to get a few balls up and down, that's kind of the way it is, no matter how you play," Levin said. "And you get kind of in a par mode really where you just have to kind of take what the course gives you.

"If you hit a good drive, you don't want to get too cute and try to go at a pin that you might shouldn't and then make a bogey because you know pars are going to be a good score. It's more of just a mind set of, try not to make a double and you know you're going to have to get a few balls up and down here today."

If thre lead stands at the end of the day, it will mark the third time Levin has held the overnight lead on Thursday, including at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera last month, where he eventually finished T12.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Stanley bides his time, rides the wind

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.

Heady plan.

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.
Category: Golf
 
 
 
 
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