The “Bear Trap” claimed more than a couple victims in Day 1 of the Honda Classic Thursday. PGA National Golf Club’s signature three-hole stretch is one of the most difficult to traverse—just like the Round 1 leaderboard.
Thursday’s round held some pleasant surprises, too. Camilo Villegas, Rickie Fowler and Boo Weekley all put together quality performances en route to the top portion of the leaderboard. Villegas had the low round of the day (six under), but 14 opponents are within two strokes of the lead.
The first round of any tournament is about positioning. Let’s take a look at the golfers who now find themselves in good position to challenge for the victory on Sunday.
*Full leaderboard can be found at PGATour.com.
Camilo Villegas: 64 (-6)
Villegas has hit a bit of a rough patch of late, missing the cut in 10 of his 25 appearances on tour last season (per USA Today Sports). He didn’t let that keep him from a big performance on Day 1.
Villegas capped off a solid round with an eagle on the 18th to take the lead on the day and give him a one-shot cushion on the rest of the field.
It wasn’t just the eagle and several birdies on his card that was most impressive. Villegas navigated his entire round without posting a bogey on his scorecard. If he can continue play safe—especially on the three-hole stretch of the Bear Trap—he’ll be in good shape to remain atop the leaderboard this weekend.
Branden Grace: 65 (-5)
Grace had a streaky round, but he strung together birdies when he needed to close the scoring gap.
After bogeying No. 10, Grace scratched out a par on each of the following four holes, punctuating his second-place round with three birdies to close.
Grace’s putting is ultimately what saved his five-under 65 round. He gained 4.361 strokes putting on the day—a statistic that measures the expected number of putts from a given distance.
While his putting was fantastic, Grace made just two-thirds of greens in regulation, and his driving accuracy was only 57.14 percent. He’ll need to continue doing work on the green in order to stay in contention this weekend.
Graham DeLaet: 65 (-5)
Unlike Grace, DeLaet made his money off the greens. His 71.43 percent driving accuracy and 94.44 percent greens in regulation were both tops amongst the five lowest scorers on the day.
DeLaet nearly turned in an unblemished scorecard for a share of the lead, but he dropped a shot with a bogey on No. 16.
The front nine didn’t seem to give DeLaet any problems on Thursday, birdieing four holes and bogeying none in that stretch. He posted just two birdies on the back nine, though.
Rickie Fowler: 65 (-5)
Fowler played extremely consistent golf on Thursday, sprinkling six birdies throughout his round. His lone bogey came on No. 8, but a long make for birdie on No. 16 more than made up for it.
Nothing about Fowler’s stats or scorecard really stand out, but he did enough to tally a five-under 65 for a second-place tie after Round 1.
Robert Streb: 65 (-5)
Villegas wasn’t the only player to post a three on No. 18 Thursday. Streb eagled the final hole PGA National Golf Club after landing a 259-yard approach shot within a foot of the pin.
Streb turned in a bogey-free card on Thursday, but he failed to take advantage of some scoring opportunities. He can’t be disappointed with a five-under 65, but Streb had a chance to do more damage than three birdies prior to his eagle on No. 18.
*All stats and scoring information available at PGATour.com.
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