Daily Wrap-up: The Honda Classic, Round 2March 01, 2013
PGATOUR.COM wire reports
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy left before his round was even over. Tiger Woods had to rally just to stick around.
And with all that drama Friday in The Honda Classic, hardly anyone noticed that Luke Guthrie showed off his potential in a big way with a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead going into the weekend at PGA National.
Guthrie, pegged by many of his peers as a rookie worth watching going into the year, played bogey-free on another cool, cloudy day.
Of his seven birdies, perhaps the most impressive for the Big Ten Conference champion from Illinois came on the sixth hole when he had mud on the side of his ball and was able to work the shot in from the right to about 10 feet.
After finishing his round, he walked into an interview room when someone mentioned that McIlroy walked off the course after being 7-over par through eight holes.
"I had no clue," Guthrie said. "I was just kind of going about my business out there."
He was at 9-under 131 and had a one-shot lead over Michael Thompson.
McIlroy, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and lost in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in his previous two starts, made a double bogey on his second hole and rinsed two balls in the water on the 16th hole on his way to a triple bogey.
He hit his approach to the 18th in the water and never finished the hole.
McIlroy released a statement through his management company that he couldn't concentrate because of a sore wisdom tooth.
"I sincerely apologize to The Honda Classic and PGA TOUR for my sudden withdrawal," McIlroy said in a statement after leaving the course. "I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with Advil. It was very painful again this morning, and I was simply unable to concentrate."
Woods looked as if he might join him. After mixing birdies with bogeys, Woods went bunker-to-bunker, over the green, short of the green and wound up with a double bogey on the 13th hole that put him one shot under the cut line with five holes to play.
Instead of the second straight week when No. 1 and No. 2 were gone early, Woods answered with a shot into 5 feet for birdie, a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole, a par save from the back bunker on the 17th that was easier than it looked, and a par save from near the grandstand by the 18th green that was harder than it looked.
He wound up with another 70 to make the cut on the number, nine shots out of the lead.
"I didn't quite have my game like I did yesterday," Woods said. "I hit it much better yesterday, but I putted better today, so it all evened out."
Camilo Villegas joined a dubious list of PGA TOUR players who went from first to missing the cut. Villegas, playing primarily on sponsor exemptions this year because he lost his full status, opened with a 64 for his best start in more than a year.
The Colombian was 13 shots worse on Friday in a round of 77. The last player to do that was Jim Renner at the Travelers Championship in 2011.
Thompson had a 65 and will play in the final group with Guthrie, the first time all year the PGA TOUR will have twosomes on the weekend.
Boo Weekley held it together for another day and shot 67 to finish two shots behind at 133, along with Graham DeLaet of Canada.
Behind them was an impressive collection of players.
Geoff Ogilvy finally began holing some putts and shot 66 to go into the weekend three shots behind, along with Lee Westwood (68), Charles Howell III (67), Sean O'Hair (68) and Justin Rose (66). Ogilvy had not made a cut in his past four tournaments, dating to his season opener in the California desert.
"The worst I've hit the ball was today," he said. "You chip in, hole a couple of long putts ... it's amazing how different it is when you hole good putts."
This is a big weekend for the likes of Ogilvy and Howell, neither of whom is in the Masters. They have to win or move into the top 50 by the end of the month.
For players such as Guthrie, Thompson, DeLaet and Weekley, they are too far down in the ranking that only a win would get them down Magnolia Lane.
The road to the Masters suddenly looks like an uphill climb for McIlroy.
Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it's been all downhill from there.
In three tournaments, he has missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship and withdrew after 26 holes at PGA National.
"His demeanor looks a little different," said Graeme McDowell, one of his best friends. "I felt like he was a little off with his golf swing on the range. There were a few moans and groans coming from the bay next to me. It's normally a display. It's normally a clinic. It's superlatives coming from the coach and the caddie. That's the sign of a guy who's lacking a little technique in his swing and a little belief in his game."
PGA National: Round 2 Easiest hole Toughest hole
The par-5 third was the easiest with a Friday scoring average of 4.560.
Eagles: 4 | Birdies: 64 | Pars: 64 | Bogeys: 8 | Others: 1
The par-4 10th was the toughest with a Friday scoring average of 4.390.
Eagles: 0 | Birdies: 3 | Pars: 85 | Bogeys: 48 | Others: 5
About the leader: Luke Guthrie • Making his 11th career start on TOUR, rookie Luke Guthrie’s previous-low round was 64, set during the final round of the 2012 John Deere Classic (finished career-best T5) and during the third round of the 2013 Humana Challenge (T27).
• Guthrie’s 63 fell two shy of the tournament record at The Honda Classic, set by Brian Harman during the second round in 2012.
• Guthrie, a 23-year-old native of Quincy, Ill., is making his seventh start on TOUR in 2013, with four top-30 finishes (best were T21s at the Farmers Insurance Open and Northern Trust Open) and two missed cuts. A year ago, he finished No. 2 on the 2012 Web.com Tour money list with wins at the Albertsons Boise Open and WNB Golf Classic.