Honda Classic 2013 Tee Times: Power Pairings to Watch for on Sunday

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Honda Classic 2013 Tee Times: Power Pairings to Watch for on Sunday
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Luke Guthrie and Michael Thompson lead the way at the 2013 Honda Classic entering the final round, but plenty of marquee players are well in the hunt to claim victory on Sunday.

A slew of players who have won on the PGA Tour—more than the current co-leaders can claim—are within striking distance on an extremely difficult PGA National Champions course. With Sunday pressure bearing down on the 20-somethings, their two-shot leads could evaporate very quickly.

Here is a breakdown of the most exciting pairings to watch for, including previous major champions, current top-10 players in the world and others who have gotten off to hot starts this season.

Note: For a complete list of Sunday's tee times, head over to PGATOUR.com.

 

12:50 p.m. ET: Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose (both at -4)

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Keegan Bradley is one of the best golfers to watch for a variety of reasons. This is one of them.

Bradley's star increased after a fiery display during the Ryder Cup, paired with Phil Mickelson. Ironically, it was Rose who won a pivotal singles match against Lefty in the midst of the Europeans team's stunning final-day comeback.

That makes this group dynamic especially interesting. Rose is the highest-ranked player with a chance to win this tournament, and he's truly one of the good guys on the tour.

Few golfers are more entertaining to watch than Bradley, who burst onto the scene with a surprising PGA Championship triumph in 2011. Whether it's his happy feet during his pre-shot routine, his comically intense gaze when reading a putt or his raw emotion, Bradley certainly stirs the pot.

Four shots is nothing to make up on this course, especially with respect to two players of this caliber. Recent history isn't always the best indicator of where a golfer is going, since it is especially hard to maintain consistency in this sport.

That said, Rose has to be the prohibitive favorite to claw his way back and make a serious run at winning. He led the Tour with 70.34 percent of greens in regulation in 2012 (h/t PGATOUR.com).

As much firepower as Bradley has proven to have, Rose is among the most consistent at hitting fairways and greens, which will be of optimal importance during this demanding final round.

If I had to pick a winner between these golfers, Rose would get the nod based on his perpetually improving putting and ability to perform in crunch time.

 

1:10 p.m. ET: Rickie Fowler and Charles Howell III (both at -5)

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Charles Howell III has used his head-to-head victory over Tiger Woods to drive another strong performance this week.

Sacrificing a bit of distance for more accuracy, Fowler is still learning how to get it done. At age 24, it's certainly surprising that a player of his talent level has only one victory on Tour.

It's somewhat of a similar story for Howell, who has been regarded as a premier talent since winning the 2001 Rookie of the Year award, but he hasn't been able to translate it to more than two victories.

Fowler is among the most popular golfers today due to his mop-top hair, colorful clothing and swagger-singed swing. Some could argue that this would not be among the most exciting pairings to watch due to the more subdued Howell.

But come on, give Chucky Three Sticks a break.

He just took Tiger Woods down in the WGC Accenture Match Play event and finds himself in contention once again in Palm Beach Gardens. Howell was born in one Augusta, Georgia after all—the mecca of golf for some.

Struggles over the past three seasons with ball-striking have prevented Fowler from progressing, but he is off to a much better start in 2013. Meanwhile, Howell has quietly emerged as one of the most underrated putters in the game in that same time frame.

For his understated stature, he also hits the ball consistently over 290 yards off the tee—as is the case with Fowler.

Don't be surprised if the winner on Sunday comes from this duo.

Fowler ended his third round with a birdie and an eagle, and Howell birdied two of the final four "Bear Trap" holes to put himself in much better position.

Check out Fowler's phenomenal finish on the par-five No. 18, courtesy of PGATOUR.com.

Video Credit: PGATOUR.com

 

1:20 p.m. ET: Lee Westwood and Geoff Ogilvy (both at -6)

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Due to his relocation to the United States to join this tour full time, this is the first time in his career that Westwood has essentially had a home tournament. He lives very close by in West Palm Beach, Fla.

That would make a win for the 39-year-old Englishman and current ninth-ranked player in the world all the more special. But not only will he have to make up a bit of a deficit—he will also have direct competition with Ogilvy.

Friday marked the four-year anniversary of Ogilvy's last victory on Tour, aside from the 2010 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which is restricted to those who won the previous year.

It's about time the calm Aussie gets back to playing some world-class golf.

The NBC television broadcast indicated on Saturday that Ogilvy has rededicated himself to the game after the recent success of good friend and Australian compatriot Adam Scott. After missing four consecutive cuts preceding this event, Ogilvy seems to have finally found his swing again.

Ogilvy hit 13 of 18 greens on an extremely windy Saturday, which is surprisingly good considering he hasn't finished better than 83rd in that statistic since 2006—the same year he captured the U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Westwood knows about falling off of the mountaintop in golf himself, as he has battled his way back as high as No. 1 in the world after suffering through a slump that lasted several years.

These two are role models for perseverance, and given all their experience, it is feasible that either one could apply pressure to the leaders—even if it means grinding out pars in the early going.

The situation is especially urgent for Ogilvy. As ESPN's Bob Harig reports, The Masters is no longer a guarantee for Ogilvy based on his slipping world ranking. That would snap a seven-year appearance streak, which included a career-best tie for fourth in 2011.

It may be the second day in a row that these men are paired together, but it should only be more entertaining with the heightened stakes.

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