Rib injury keeps de Jonge from winner's circle – again

Brendon de Jonge had only three birdies all weekend at the Honda Classic, nursing a rib injury, although he didn't use that as an excuse for his poor weekend play.
Brendon de Jonge had only three birdies all weekend at the Honda Classic, nursing a rib injury, although he didn't use that as an excuse for his poor weekend play. ( Associated Press )

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lost in the sudden meltdown of Rory McIlroy at the Honda Classic was the slow sinking of Brendon de Jonge, whose winless stretch on the PGA Tour continued in frustrating fashion.

“I took it hard, to be honest, more so because I felt really comfortable out there (Saturday’s third round),” said de Jonge after he completed a 76-78 weekend that totally overshadowed the terrific work he had done Thursday and Friday (66-64) to get into contention.

How big a fall was it? De Jonge made five birdies on the back nine at PGA National in Round 2 alone, but just three birdies over the final 36 holes.

After three holes Saturday, de Jonge was 12 under and when you consider that 8 under eventually earned a playoff spot, you realize how great a position the man from Zimbabwe was in. But de Jonge played his final 10 holes in 6 over, shot 76, and fell out of contention.

Painful stuff, made worse by the fact that late in the round he somehow hurt his ribs. “It just cropped up,” he said. “It had nothing to do with how I played, that’s for sure, but it got a little frustrating.”

Though his ribs were still sore Sunday and he was mentally deflated, de Jonge never considered withdrawing.

“I figured I’d give it a go and get it in,” he said.

Unfortunately, his game never got untracked; he failed to make a birdie and when his his weekend crash was finally over, de Jonge had settled in a share of 63rd place.

“It was hard (to play Sunday),” conceded de Jonge, who could be argued is the best player on the PGA Tour without a victory. “But there was still the opportunity to make a good weekend.”

That didn’t happen, but de Jonge will be back at it this week at the Cadillac Championship, determined to put the Honda heartache behind him.