BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Padraig Harrington is a 36-hole
leader on the PGA Tour for the first time in nearly
five years and he knows he has a long way to go.
vicious storm Saturday at the Honda Classic made his
weekend even longer.
made six birdies in the 12 holes he played Saturday
morning in the rain-delayed tournament to complete a
4-under 66 and take a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed,
with Ian Poulter and Brendan Steele another shot
third round ended 51 minutes after it started because
of a storm that packed 50 mph gusts and dumped about 5
inches of rain on PGA National. The storm was so
severe that it created an air bubble on the 18th green
the size of a sea turtle, caused the sides of bunkers
to cave in and toppled an electronic scoreboard off a
platform and down to the bottom of a lake.
as bad as I've ever seen it rain," Russell Knox
of Scotland said after a 68 left him four shots
24 players completed a hole before the storm arrived,
causing the third delay of the week. The plan was to
return at 10 a.m. Sunday to resume the round, and
continue with the same pairings to play as much as
possible on Sunday. The tournament now is to end on
got pretty much a mess," said Slugger White, the
tour's vice president of competition.
helps that the next event is a World Golf Championship
about a 90-minute drive down the highway at Doral, and
there is no pro-am.
the three-time major champion from Ireland, has fallen
to No. 297 in the world and couldn't qualify for Doral
even if he were to win. He won the Indonesian Open on
the Asian Tour at the end of last year, ending a
four-year drought dating to another Asian Tour event.
last PGA Tour victory was his second straight major,
the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He said
the benefit of playing Indonesia was a boost to his
confidence, on and off the golf course. At such a
small tournament, his name resonates.
treat you like a star, you play like a star," he
said. "I'm back to being a three-time major
winner. I went for that reason — to give my ego a
boost. There's definitely a lot to being a big fish in
a small pond."
was a proper analogy when PGA National turned into a
pond, and Harrington surely played the role of a big
to nearly four hours of rain delays Friday, he made it
through six holes and returned Saturday with
back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, and
then another from about 10 feet on No. 1, posing over
just about every shot.
a bogey set up by a wild tee shot on the par-5 third
hole — he had to pitch down the second fairway
because of the trees — Harrington ran off three
straight birdies before a few loose tee shots cost
him. The rough had become so thick and wet that he
couldn't reach the green on his last two holes, making
bogeys on both.
finished at 7-under 133.
nice to be in contention," Harrington said.
"I'm very positive about my game coming in here
this week. I don't know what's going to happen the
next 36 holes, but I have a good idea where I'm going.
I'm pretty confident."
finished his 67 on Friday.
matched the low round of the week at PGA National with
a 64 and was two shots back. He holed out for eagle
with a sand wedge on the fourth hole and dropped only
one shot on the back nine.
I play half as good as I've obviously played today,
then I'm going to have a chance come Sunday,"
69 score doesn't reflect his up-and-down day. He
didn't make a par until the 10th hole, playing the
front nine with six birdies and three bogeys. And then
he made nothing but pars on the back nine except for a
double bogey on the 16th.
Donald finished his 67 on Friday and was another shot
back at 4-under 136.
cut was at 4-over 144 and didn't include Rory McIlroy.
His first tournament in America in five months lasted
only two days for the world's No. 1 player. McIlroy
bogeyed three of his last four holes on Friday for a
74 and missed the cut by three shots.
Mickelson, who had missed two straight cuts on the
West Coast swing, finished up at 67 on Saturday and
was five shots behind.
focus on Sunday starts with Harrington.
27 holes, I was the most confident guy in the world,
and less so at the moment," he said after his
bogey-bogey finish. "I know it's going to be a
long weekend, and a tough weekend. I have two options.
I can play well on the weekend or I can dig deep and
hang in there."