LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Everyone else was making birdies while Mark Wilson was settling for pars Sunday afternoon on the front side of the Palmer Course at PGA West.
In fact, the former UNC standout was the only player among the top 19 on the leaderboard to make the turn over par with a 37. Wilson made eight pars and one bogey as the three-stroke lead he started the final round with evaporated.
The back nine has been much kinder to Wilson, though. After tapping in from 9 inches for his first birdie, Wilson holed a bunker shot for another at the par-4 12th to break out of a three-way tie for the lead and move to 22 under.
Wilson, who followed the ball into the cup with his right fist raised in the air and his left leg kicking, now is one stroke ahead of Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Mark Wilson has rejoined the tie at the top of the leaderboard after he got up-and-down from beside the green at the par-5 11th hole on the Palmer Course.
Wilson chipped to 9 inches for the tap-in birdie that drew him even with playing partner Robert Garrigus, who had to make a 5-footer for par on the same hole, and John Mallinger at 21 under. Mallinger, who is playing one group ahead, also birdied the same hole.
Johnson Wagner, who won last week's Sony Open in Hawaii, is just one shot behind the leaders after playing his first 13 holes in 5 under. He's tied with Zach Johnson, who is 2 under through 11.
Seven more players are within three strokes of the lead, including Brendon de Jonge, who is finished and heads the group of five players at 18 under. He shot 64 on Sunday.
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Mark Wilson fired a career-low 62 on Friday at the Palmer Course to vault into a tie for the lead at the Humana Challenge with Ben Crane and David Toms.
Wilson started with birdies on his first three holes, then capped off the round of 10 under with a 9-footer for his eighth birdie of the day. The four-time PGA TOUR champ also made a 15-footer for eagle on the 11th hole.
The trio will start Saturday’s third round at 16 under, three strokes ahead of Camilo Villegas, Harris English, Chris Kirk, John Mallinger and Bobby Gates. English also shot 62 but his came on the Nicklaus Course.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Mark Wilson has just eagled the 11th hole on the Palmer Course to move to 8 under for the day.
Wilson, who birdied his first three holes and turned in 31, is now 14 under and two strokes behind Ben Crane, who shot 61 in the second round. He's alone in second with a one-stroke edged on overnight co-leader David Toms.
Wilson has three par 5s, a trio of par 3s and two par 4s remaining. The course record on the Palmer Course is the 59 David Duval shot in the final round of his 1999 victory.
Wilson, who won twice last year, will defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in two weeks.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Mark Wilson won't be around this weekend to defend his Sony Open in Hawaii championship.
"Short game kind of let me down yesterday," said Wilson, who bogeyed five of the seven greens that he missed in regulation in the first round.
Wilson made five bogeys on Thursday, the same amount he made during all 72 holes in last year's win at Waialae.
Although he played better on Friday -- he was a bogey-free 3 under in his first eight holes before losing momentum -- he felt like he didn't get enough out of his round.
"I don't know how I only shot 2 under to be honest with you," he said.
He added: "It just was one of those weeks where is it didn't seem like things were going in my favor. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots that ended up poorly and didn't make as many long putts as I normally do, and there was the difference."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU – Mark Wilson enters this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii as the defending champ. Of the 26 rookies on the PGA TOUR this year, 24 are playing at Waialae, including nine who are making their TOUR debuts.
You might think one of them would want to pick the brain of, oh, a guy who’s had success here before.
“I haven’t really had any of that,” Wilson said with a smile. “These young kids coming up, they just sweat confidence. I can understand why they would not ask me, a grizzled veteran, what I think about something because they think they can do better, which is fine.”
Or perhaps they’re just reluctant to ask. Wilson acknowledged that he didn’t approach any veterans when he was a rookie pro.
“I wasn’t that comfortable with it,” he said.
Obviously, that didn’t prevent him from figuring out Waialae on his own.
Staff and wire reports
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- The PGA TOUR Player of the Year race may not be over yet.
The TOUR decided Monday to wait until after the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is over to send out Player of the Year ballots since the tournament would count as an official win if a PGA TOUR member wins it. Ballots still must be returned by Dec. 9.
"It's important because it's an official win for a member, and that should hold the ballot open," said Andy Pazder, the TOUR’s COO. "When we send out the ballot, we have a brief summary of the player's year on the PGA TOUR. It would be a glaring omission if someone won the tournament and that wasn't on there."
A year ago, the HSBC Champions was played prior to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, which concluded the 2011 Fall Series on Sunday. With his win at Disney, Luke Donald joined six other players with two victories this year -- capturing the PGA TOUR money title in the process. (Money earned at the HSBC Championship is unofficial.)
Three of the two-time winners -- PGA champ Keegan Bradley, Nick Watney and Mark Wilson -- are currently expected to play Nov. 3-6 in Shanghai along with FedExCup champion Bill Haas.
Donald has said he likely would play in Shanghai if his wife has given birth to their second child. He also plans to play in the Nedbank Challenge, Dubai World Championship and JBWere Masters in successive weeks in December.
Also playing in Shanghai is Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who has not missed a cut this year. Schwartzel is not likely to be on the ballot now, but adding a World Golf Championships title to his major could make a difference.
The other three two-time winners -- Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Steve Stricker -- are not entered in the tournament at Sheshan International Golf Club at the current time.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LEMONT, Ill. -- The 77 was hard enough to swallow. At least Mark Wilson didn't have to absorb a two-stroke penalty like he feared might happen after his club grazed the sand in the greenside bunker at the 14th hole.
The situation arose after Wilson had marked his ball in the sand on the par 3 so his playing partner Justin Rose could hit his second shot. When Wilson replaced his ball he saw the indentation in the sand.
Wilson called rules official Brad Fabel over as soon as the hole was complete. Fabel told him they were actually already aware of what happened -- "That's TV for you," Wilson said with a wry smile -- and were discussing whether he should be penalized for grounding his club in a bunker.
When Wilson finished his round, Slugger White, vice president of rules and competition for the PGA TOUR, went into the scorer's trailer to talk with him. The decision? No infraction occurred.
White said he and the other rules officials deliberated for about 45 minutes. Eventually they determined that the situation fell under the exception to Rule 13.4 that says there is no interference when lifting or replacing the ball -- "provided nothing constitutes testing of the hazard and he did not do that," White said. "We were very comfortable with that."
Wilson knew immediately after he replaced the ball in the sane that he could have a problem.
"I didn't realize it until I lifted myself up and I saw a mark," Wilson said. "I'm like, oh no. that's my club that made that mark. So I asked the guys and they deliberated about it and they talked to the USGA about it and they feel good about the decision. I couldn't lobby for it at all, I just had to sit there and wait. I'm glad it went in my favor."
Rose said he would have felt "pretty guilty" if there had been a penalty assessed since he was the one who asked Wilson to mark his ball.
"When he's gone down to replace it, obviously your body is in an unusual act, you're in the bunker but you're in a hazard, but he's obviously in some sense grounded his club somewhat trying to stay balanced, I suppose," Rose said. "But I believe no penalty, and I think that was the right decision. There was certainly no way he was ever testing the surface. That would have been a harsh thing to have happened."
Wilson, who had started the third round tied for the lead with Rose, ended up making a double bogey on the next hole and a bogey at No. 16. He refused to use the uncertainty over whether he would get a penalty as an excuse.
"Nah. I'm a big boy. I'm a big boy," Wilson said. "I got fooled on the wind at 15 is really all that happened there and I pressed on 16. I just couldn't get any putts to drop. I pretty much decided I thought I had the penalty. I've got to focus that I made a 5 at 14 and it will be a bonus if I get a 3. Turns out there was an exception to the rule that worked in my favor. I'm happy that it worked out OK.
"The 77 was a lot higher than I was thinking I was going to shoot. I didn't want to sign for 79."