PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — PGA Tour rookie Luke Guthrie and Michael Thompson survived the chilly, blustery conditions and shared the lead Saturday in the Honda Classic.
With wind making the course play longer and the water look even more daunting, Guthrie held on for a 1-over 71 in his first time playing in the last group on tour. The 22-year-old from Illinois closed with eight good pars. Thompson narrowly missed a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole for a 70.
They were at 8-under 202, and had to buckle down for what figures to be a wide open final round.
Lee Westwood chipped for an unlikely birdie on the 14th hole, made a 20-foot birdie on the 17th and salvaged a par despite hitting 3-wood into the water on the final hole for a 70 that left him only two shots behind. Geoff Ogilvy also had to work hard for a 70, starting with three bogeys on the opening four holes. Ogilvy made a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th to join Westwood at 202 and give him a great chance to erase a miserable West Coast Swing.
Ogilvy, who failed to finish in the top 50 and qualify for the Masters at the end of last year by one shot, missed his last four cuts and didn’t qualify for the Match Play Championship last week. He has until the end of the month to go from No. 79 into the top 50, making Sunday an important day.
Eleven players were separated by four shots going into the final round, a group that included Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell III, Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose.
Missing from the mix was Tiger Woods.
Woods had hoped to post a low score to at least get into contention and was headed that way with a 32 on the front nine. But he didn’t make another birdie the rest of the way, and took a double bogey on the par-3 17th when his shot plugged into the bank short of the green and he never found the ball. He wound up with a 70, not a bad score under the conditions, but not good enough to achieve what he wanted. He was eight shots behind.
Woods was nine shots out of the lead a year ago after 54 holes, closed with a 62 and was runner-up by two shots to Rory McIlroy.
Instead of the No. 1 player at the top of the leaderboard, there are a pair of players who have never won on the PGA Tour, two players who realized that a victory Sunday would get them into the Masters. Thompson hasn’t been to Augusta National since 2008 as a U.S. Amateur finalist.
Lewis, Choi share lead at HSBC Champions: In Singapore, Stacy Lewis shares the lead at the HSBC Women’s Champions with Na Yeon Choi after the South Korean birdied the 18th hole in a rain-delayed third round on Saturday.
Choi shot a 5-under 67 to go level with the 28-year-old American on 14-under 202. Overnight leader Lewis, the reigning LPGA Player of the Year, had a 69.
Paula Creamer, who injured her shoulder in a car accident after a tournament in Thailand last weekend, shot 69 to move into third place at 12-under.
Lewis and Choi were in the last group on the course and had just teed off on the 18th hole when a thunderstorm rolled in, causing play to be suspended for nearly 21/2 hours.