By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- With two of the three holes in the Bear Trap -- Nos. 15, 16 and 17 -- playing as two of the more difficult holes on the golf course this week, they could certainly come into play down the stretch here in the final round.
On big key to leader Rory McIlroy’s success here this week: He’s played those holes in a combined 3 under with three birdies and no bogeys. Here’s a look at how the rest of the players in contention and the field as a whole have played those holes through the first three rounds.
|Par -3 15th||3.135||7th||55||226||64||19|
How how the leaders have played the Bear Trap:
|Player||No. 15||No. 16||No. 17|
|Rory McIlroy||Par, Birdie, Birdie||Par, Par, Par||Birdie, Par, Par|
|Harris English||Bogey, Par, Par||Par, Par, Birdie||Par, Par, Par|
|Tom Gillis||Bogey, Par, Bogey||Birdie, Par, Par||Par, Birdie, Par|
|Keegan Bradley||Par, Par, Birdie||Par, Par, Par||Birdie, Birdie, Par|
|Brian Harman||Par, Birdie, Par||Birdie, Birdie, Par||Par, Par, Par|
|Justin Rose||Par, Birdie, Par||Birdie, Birdie, Par||Par, Birdie, Par|
How difficult has the infamous Bear Trap been this week? Well, through two rounds there have been 1,237 bogeys or worse at PGA National. Holes 15 through 17 have accounted for 318 of them (that’s 25 percent).
Balls in the water: 110 of the 253 total balls in the water at
PGA National this week have come at Nos. 15
through 18 (again, that’s 43 percent).
Don’t expect those numbers to let up much in Round 3, either. It continues to be windy and has been rainy at times as well.
How difficult has scoring been in the opening round of The Honda Classic? Well, the course is playing two full strokes harder than any other course has this season with a ridiculously high scoring average of 73.779 -- more than 3 1/2 strokes above par.
A big part of that story -- aside from the high winds -- was the Bear Trap. The 15th, 16th and 17th holes played as the third, fourth and most difficult holes on the course, respectively.
The par-3 15th, for example, has played to a scoring average of 3.493 with just 12 birdies, 17 tee shots in the water and only eight one-putts.
The par-4 16th was only slightly easier -- it played to a 4.382 average but yielded just 10 birdies. Thirteen balls found the water and there were 15 three-putts.
And the par-3 17th hole? An incredible 29 balls have found the water so far. Only eight birdies have been made there all day and the hole is playing to an average of 3.688.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The Bear Trap claimed one of its biggest victims Thursday.
Adam Scott came to the par-3 15 th hole even par and left at 5 over after an 8, proving there are snowmen in South Florida. Scott rinsed two balls at No. 15.
“I hit a 4-iron than ballooned into the water, then went to the drop area and hit a 9-iron that caught a gust,” Scott said. His fifth shot landed just off the green, he chipped up and two-putted for the quintuple-bogey.
Scott also had another ball land in the water at the par-3 17 th when he blocked a 4-iron, leading to a double bogey. He played 16 holes in even-par, but he saw the other two holes wreck his round.
“That’s what those holes are all about, I guess,” Scott said.
Scott is currently tied for 131 st.
The Bear Trap is the three-hole stretch from the 15 th to the 17 th holes. Its name is derived from Jack Nicklaus, who re-designed The Champion course.
So far in the first round, the 17 th is the most-difficult hole with a stroke average of 3.621. The 15 th is the third-hardest (3.513) and the par-4 16 th is the fourth-hardest at 4.432. -- Craig Dolch
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The Honda Classic is resembling a U.S. Open when you look at the leaderboard.
Only seven players are under par more than halfway through the morning wave as winds in excess of 20-mph are making club selection a challenge at PGA National's Champion course.
Spencer Levin leads at 3-under through 17 holes. He’s one shot ahead of Matt Bettencourt, Alex Cejka and Jeff Overton.
The course is averaging more than 3 strokes over its par of 70 (73.3).
Among the big names struggling are former Honda champions Ernie Els (5 over through 12 holes) and Luke Donald (3 over through 12) and British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (4 over through 12).
Els, who had hit a PGA TOUR-leading 83.3 percent of his greens entering Thursday, has hit just 6 of 12. -- Craig Dolch