Honda Classic 2012 Leaderboard: Tiger Woods and Golfers Sure to Make a Run

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2012

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 01:  Tiger Woods waves after a birdie on the ninth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic at PGA National on March 1, 2012 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the third round of the Honda Classic set to go off in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. on Saturday, it is shaping up to be a very wide-open and competitive tournament. The surprise leader is Tom Gillis along with Justin Rose, but there are plenty of elite golfers in the hunt.

There is a logjam a few shots back of the lead and there are certain to be a few golfers who are able to separate themselves from the field and make a run. Most of the tour's top players are in this tournament, ensuring an exciting finish with many of the world's best in the mix.

Here are three golfers who seem poised to make a run at the leaders this weekend.

Tiger Woods

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After bowing out in the second round of the Accenture Match Play tournament, Tiger Woods has come under a lot of scrutiny, particularly for his putting issues. He has also had to answer questions about the controversial book by his former swing coach Hank Haney. With so many distractions it would be easy for Tiger to crumble as he sits seven strokes behind the leader, but he has generally played much better over the past few months.

Woods has struggled in some aspects over his past couple tournaments and he hasn't even played that great in this tournament, but he is far from out of it. If Woods can get into a groove and start to find his rhythm on the greens, the rest of the field is in trouble.

It's fair to say that badmouthing Tiger is en vogue nowadays, but he's in a much better spot than he was a year ago and figures to be a player in The Honda Classic.

Keegan Bradley

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Keegan Bradley hits his tee shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2012 in Pacific Palisades, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As a rookie last year, Keegan Bradley came out of nowhere to make a major impact and become one of the best players in the world. He won twice last year, including the PGA Championship. Bradley certainly isn't going to sneak up on anyone this year, but he is lying in the weeds in the Honda Classic. At five-under par, Bradley is very much within striking distance and is a major threat to win the tournament.

He proved last year that he possesses the killer instinct that many golfers lack, so as long as he is in the hunt, he's very dangerous. Bradley has played consistently over the first two rounds, but over the course of his young career he has proven that he can take his game to another level on the weekend. There is no reason to think that things will be any different in this tournament.

Graeme McDowell

MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits hits tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on February 22, 2012 in Marana, Ari
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

He may not be the biggest star on tour, but Graeme McDowell has proven to be a threat in every tournament he participates in. The Northern Ireland native won the US Open in 2010 and is currently ranked 15th in the world golf rankings. No matter what, he always seems to be well within striking distance in every tournament, and that is certainly true in The Honda Classic as he is lingering five shots behind the leaders.

That most definitely is not an insurmountable deficit for McDowell to overcome as he is one of the more consistent players on tour. There aren't a ton of players who can make up four or five shots on a Sunday, but McDowell undoubtedly can. So as long as he can stay within a few strokes heading into the final day, he'll be one of the main contenders to win this thing.


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