Bloomberg News

Love’s Hole-in-One Helps Grab Honda Classic Lead as Woods Seeks U.S. Win

March 02, 2012

Davis Love III’s hole-in-one highlighted a course record-tying 6-under-par 64, giving him a two-shot lead entering today’s second round of the U.S. PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. Tiger Woods is seven shots back.

Love, an American, aced the 195-yard, par-3 fifth hole with a 5-iron for his fifth hole-in-one on the circuit, the tour said on its website. He made five birdies, a bogey and had 26 putts over 18 holes on PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens (13440MF), Florida.

“I was just trying to hit it toward the flag,” Love said in a PGA Tour radio interview. “I haven’t made a whole lot of them, but I’ve made three in the last two years.”

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is among eight players two shots back. McIlroy finished his 4-under opening round with five birdies and a bogey. He’s tied with England’s Justin Rose, South Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh and Americans Dicky Pride, Ryan Palmer, Martin Flores, Kevin Stadler and Harris English.

Woods, making his first professional appearance at the tournament, finished the round at 1 over. Woods, whose estate on Jupiter Island is commuting distance from the course, is winless on the PGA Tour since September 2009.

American golfers have captured the first nine events on the U.S. tour this season, the longest such streak since 1991. The tournament, featuring a field that includes two of the top three players in the world -- McIlroy and Englishman Lee Westwood -- has been won by players from outside the U.S. six of the past seven years.

Tiger Woods’s Round

Woods, who tied for 15th place in his U.S. debut last month at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and lost in the second round of the World Match Play Championship last week, played alongside Westwood and Miguel Angel Carballo of Argentina. Carballo, No. 299 in the Official World Golf Ranking, replaced Ian Poulter of England, who withdrew because of illness.

Woods, 36, had three birdies and four bogeys in his round of 71. He is tied for 68th place of the 144 players entering the second round.

“I hit the ball a lot better than I scored, and I certainly putted well,” Woods told reporters. “A round I should have been probably 2- or 3-under par quickly turned into 1 over.”

McIlroy, who won the 2011 U.S. Open, entered the tournament as the favorite, with 8-1 odds, while Woods and Westwood were listed at 10-1, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s sportsbook. McIlroy could surpass Luke Donald of England as the No. 1 player in the world with a win this week.

Woods’s only previous appearance in the Honda Classic came as an amateur in 1993, when he missed the cut for weekend play after rounds of 72 and 78. He’s claimed 12 of his 71 career PGA Tour titles in Florida.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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