Davis takes halfway lead at Honda

By TIM REYNOLDS
Associated Press

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Dudley Hart spent some of Friday afternoon poised to turn The Honda Classic into a runaway. Later in the day, it was Brian Davis’ turn to take what seemed like a huge lead.

But PGA National eventually caught up with them.

And by nightfall, the Honda leaderboard was muddled again.

Davis shot a 3-under 67 to finish the day at 8 under, one shot better than Matt Jones (67) and two shots ahead of Hart – a former South Florida resident whose last victory was at the 2000 Honda, and who peeled off six consecutive birdies in a 4-under 66.

“Around this course, I think you’d need about a 20-shot lead with one round to go,” Davis said. “You know around here, it’s going to come down to the last nine holes, just the way the course is set up. I can’t see anybody getting a six-shot lead out there tomorrow.”

He almost had one Friday.

After a bogey-free opening round, Davis started his second round just as precisely, getting to 10 under at one point and four shots clear of the field.

Then this diabolical course – as it typically does – began to fight back.

Davis made a double bogey at the par-3 7th, his 16th of the day, then missed the green to the right and slid a 10-foot par try just past the cup on his final hole.

“I’m sure every player’s got a few hiccups around here,” Davis said.

Some fewer than others, though.

John Mallinger (67) and Ben Crane (66) were tied for fourth, three shots off the lead. Ernie Els shot 70 and was in a group of six players, including Mark Calcavecchia and Robert Allenby, five shots back of Davis.

First-round leader Luke Donald shot a 74, including a quadruple bogey on the 14th, to fall six shots back.

Hart played in the afternoon, when the wind picked up and the course, theoretically, was significantly harder than in the morning session. But he went out in 29, and only a double bogey at the par-3 17th kept him from finishing the day with a share of the lead.

“You don’t birdie six in a row very often,” Hart said. “You know, everybody out here has gone through stretches where they have done that. It’s just hard to describe, really. Just things are clicking right, and the putts are falling, and good things are happening.”

Most players at PGA National didn’t have the same sentiment.

Defending champion Mark Wilson shot his second consecutive 73 and missed the cut, along with other notables Mike Weir, Chris DiMarco. Rich Beem and Fred Funk. Tadd Fujikawa, the 17-year-old from Honolulu, still hasn’t made the cut as a pro after missing by 10 shots, and David Duval missed by six.

The cut was 4-over 144, and 77 players made it – meaning the Tour’s new “second cut” policy won’t come into play after Saturday’s round. If more than 78 advanced Friday, the Tour would have trimmed again to the low 70 and ties following the third round, under an amended plan newly installed this week.

Duval, like Hart, has a major medical exemption this year because of health problems endured by his wife in 2007. Hart – whose wife fell seriously ill last year but is now healthy – is only about $150,000 shy of what he needed to make this year, yet says he isn’t spending much time thinking about it.

“I came out this year and I just said, you know, I’m going to try to work hard, play well and if I make the money and do it, then great,” said Hart, who made more than $300,000 with a third-place finish at Pebble Beach. “But if I don’t, it’s not going to kill me. I have three kids, a healthy wife at home and a lot of good things going on there.”

Duval hasn’t bounced back so well.

He was over par on eight of his 18 holes Friday, including three double bogeys. Duval hasn’t earned a penny this year in five starts, meaning he has 15 chances left to make the $713,235 he needs to reach what would have been 125th on last year’s money list.

Davis is on pace to make that, and plenty more, this weekend.

With seven first-time champions in the past 12 years, the Honda – which pays $990,000 to the winner – is a haven for those seeking a breakthrough victory, a fact not lost on Davis.

He’s 0-for-98 on Tour. He’s never had such a good chance to change that, either.

“It’s a welcome return to form,” Davis said. “And it’s where you want to be.”

Divots: Scott Hoch, who entered the Honda after two consecutive victories on the Champions Tour, made the cut on the number. ... Tim Petrovic withdrew because of a neck injury after completing eight holes, the last two resulting in double bogeys. ... Carl Petterson holed a 30-yard pitch for eagle at the par-5 third hole, highlighting his round of 66 that got him within six shots of the lead. ... Tag Ridings, who didn’t have a bogey in his first 22 holes, finished with seven Friday – but still squeaked into the weekend on the cut line.

Scores with relation to par from the secondround of the Honda Classic, played Feb. 29 at the par-70, 7,158-yardPGA National Resort & Spa (Champions) in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.:

  1. Brian Davis 65-67--132
    -8 2. Matt Jones 66-67--133
    -7 3. Dudley Hart 68-66--134
    -6 4. John Mallinger 68-67--135
    -5 4. Ben Crane 69-66--135
    -5 6. Jose Coceres 68-69--137
    -3 6. Joe Durant 68-69--137
    -3 6. Robert Allenby 69-68--137
    -3 6. Brett Quigley 67-70--137
    -3 6. Ernie Els 67-70--137
    -3 6. Mark Calcavecchia 70-67--137
    -3 12. Carl Pettersson 72-66--138
    -2 12. Luke Donald 64-74--138
    -2 14. Vaughn Taylor 70-69--139
    -1 14. Briny Baird 70-69--139
    -1 14. Shane Bertsch 70-69--139
    -1 14. Robert Gamez 71-68--139
    -1 14. Jerry Kelly 68-71--139
    -1 14. Michael Letzig 70-69--139
    -1 20. Steve Marino 69-71--140
    E 20. Matt Kuchar 73-67--140
    E 20. Justin Leonard 69-71--140
    E 20. Kenny Perry 73-67--140
    E 20. Eric Axley 69-71--140
    E 20. Alex Cejka 69-71--140
    E 20. Y.E. Yang 69-71--140
    E 27. Bart Bryant 69-72--141 + 1 27. Nathan Green 71-70--141 + 1 27. Richard S. Johnson 72-69--141 + 1 27. John Merrick 72-69--141 + 1 27. Kenneth Ferrie 69-72--141 + 1 27. Marc Turnesa 70-71--141 + 1 27. Anthony Kim 72-69--141 + 1 27. Camilo Villegas 72-69--141 + 1 27. Robert Garrigus 71-70--141 + 1 27. Kevin Sutherland 67-74--141 + 1 27. Jeff Maggert 70-71--141 + 1 27. Mathew Goggin 71-70--141 + 1 27. Cliff Kresge 70-71--141 + 1 27. Tim Wilkinson 67-74--141 + 1 27. Roland Thatcher 68-73--141 + 1 42. Peter Lonard 71-71--142 + 2 42. Boo Weekley 70-72--142 + 2 42. Justin Rose 72-70--142 + 2 42. Brad Adamonis 76-66--142 + 2 42. Pete Jordan 75-67--142 + 2 42. Jimmy Walker 67-75--142 + 2 42. Alejandro Canizares 74-68--142 + 2 42. Charlie Wi 72-70--142 + 2 42. Tim Herron 69-73--142 + 2 42. Sergio Garcia 73-69--142 + 2 42. Paul Goydos 68-74--142 + 2 42. J.J. Henry 69-73--142 + 2 54. Richard Green 72-71--143 + 3 54. Frank Lickliter II 72-71--143 + 3 54. David Lutterus 74-69--143 + 3 54. Chad Campbell 70-73--143 + 3 54. Will MacKenzie 69-74--143 + 3 54. Retief Goosen 73-70--143 + 3 54. Jesper Parnevik 68-75--143 + 3 54. Zach Johnson 74-69--143 + 3 54. Woody Austin 70-73--143 + 3 54. Davis Love III 70-73--143 + 3 54. Glen Day 73-70--143 + 3 54. Nicholas Thompson 71-72--143 + 3 66. Heath Slocum 73-71--144 + 4 66. Mathias Gronberg 75-69--144 + 4 66. Patrick Sheehan 70-74--144 + 4 66. Arron Oberholser 69-75--144 + 4 66. Jin Park 73-71--144 + 4 66. Ben Curtis 73-71--144 + 4 66. John Senden 77-67--144 + 4 66. Scott Hoch 75-69--144 + 4 66. Tag Ridings 69-75--144 + 4 66. Carlos Franco 72-72--144 + 4 66. Kevin Streelman 73-71--144 + 4 66. Alan Morin 72-72--144 + 4 • • •


    Missed the cut


    78. Johnson Wagner 74-71--145 + 5 78. Billy Mayfair 78-67--145 + 5 78. Jeff Overton 77-68--145 + 5 78. Bill Haas 72-73--145 + 5 78. Todd Hamilton 73-72--145 + 5 78. Charles Warren 72-73--145 + 5 78. Jason Gore 73-72--145 + 5 78. Jason Day 71-74--145 + 5 78. Martin Laird 69-76--145 + 5 78. James Driscoll 71-74--145 + 5 78. Chez Reavie 75-70--145 + 5 78. Henrik Bjornstad 72-73--145 + 5 78. Shigeki Maruyama 73-72--145 + 5 78. Justin Bolli 72-73--145 + 5 78. Richard Johnson 74-71--145 + 5 93. Craig Barlow 74-72--146 + 6 93. Mark Wilson 73-73--146 + 6 93. Fred Funk 72-74--146 + 6 93. Mike Weir 73-73--146 + 6 93. Nick Flanagan 73-73--146 + 6 93. Brett Rumford 72-74--146 + 6 93. Rich Beem 73-73--146 + 6 93. Jay Williamson 73-73--146 + 6 93. Lucas Glover 75-71--146 + 6 93. Trevor Immelman 76-70--146 + 6 93. Chris Stroud 71-75--146 + 6 104. George McNeill 72-75--147 + 7 104. Troy Matteson 71-76--147 + 7 104. Brian Bateman 75-72--147 + 7 104. Kevin Na 76-71--147 + 7 104. Ken Duke 75-72--147 + 7 104. Stephen Leaney 72-75--147 + 7 104. Michael Allen 71-76--147 + 7 104. Bob Estes 77-70--147 + 7 112. Sean O'Hair 71-77--148 + 8 112. Jonathan Byrd 76-72--148 + 8 112. Joey Sindelar 72-76--148 + 8 112. Tom Pernice, Jr. 76-72--148 + 8 112. Cody Freeman 75-73--148 + 8 112. John Riegger 72-76--148 + 8 118. Rocco Mediate 73-76--149 + 9 118. Kevin Stadler 81-68--149 + 9 118. Scott Sterling 72-77--149 + 9 118. J.L. Lewis 75-74--149 + 9 118. Ryan Armour 77-72--149 + 9 118. Jim McGovern 74-75--149 + 9 118. Kyle Thompson 75-74--149 + 9 118. Dustin Johnson 75-74--149 + 9 126. Angel Cabrera 76-74--150 + 10 126. Jon Mills 73-77--150 + 10 126. Tommy Gainey 77-73--150 + 10 126. Shaun Micheel 74-76--150 + 10 126. David Duval 72-78--150 + 10 126. Garrett Osborn 74-76--150 + 10 132. J.P. Hayes 74-77--151 + 11 132. Olin Browne 75-76--151 + 11 132. Chris DiMarco 75-76--151 + 11 132. Steve Flesch 76-75--151 + 11 136. Duffy Waldorf 72-80--152 + 12 136. Brandt Jobe 75-77--152 + 12 136. David Toms 77-75--152 + 12 136. Joe Ogilvie 80-72--152 + 12 136. Chad Collins 72-80--152 + 12 141. Billy Andrade 79-74--153 + 13 142. Tadd Fujikawa 78-76--154 + 14 WD. Tim Petrovic


    WD. Tommy Armour III
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