March 2 2012
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- A year ago, 9 under was the winning score at The Honda Classic. Friday, rookie Brian Harman matched that number to shatter the course record with a 61 at PGA National, where he is two shots back of leaders Tom Gillis and Justin Rose.
On an ideal day for scoring, several players went low, including Gillis, who matched the previous course record with a 64 to leave himself in a tie with Rose atop the leaderboard at 8 under.
“It was as easy as I've ever seen it today,” said Gillis, who lives in nearby Jupiter, Fla., and has played the course several times before.
Even as the wind increased in the afternoon wave, players were still going low. Rose finished late in the day but still managed a 4-under 66.
Ditto Rory McIlroy, who is one shot back after a 67 Friday.
McIlroy was largely mistake-free with just one bogey among four birdies, including three over his final five holes.
“This golf course can make average golf look like very bad golf very suddenly,” McIlroy said. “This course isn't about making tons of birdies. It's about keeping the big numbers off your card.”
Plenty of players seemed able to do that with the cut coming at 1 over. Last year, the cut was 6 over.
Among those who will be around for the weekend: Tiger Woods. He carded a 2-under 68 in an up-and-down round that included five birdies, one bogey and one double bogey.
Woods is 1 under heading into the weekend.