Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

McIlroy in control; Tiger hangs on

Rory McIlroy has 4-under 66 in the Honda Classic’s second round for a two-shot lead.

Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has 4-under 66 in the Honda Classic’s second round for a two-shot lead.

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Golf is starting to feel easy again for Rory McIlroy, who bounced back from a sloppy start Friday in the Honda Classic for a 4-under 66 that gave him his first 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour in 18 months.

Tiger Woods is making golf look hard.

McIlroy recovered from two early bogeys by running off six birdies in a 10-hole stretch. He looked solid from tee to green, hit putts with growing confidence and wound up with a one-shot lead over Brendon de Jonge (64) at 11-under 129.

"I knew that with the way I'm playing and the confidence in my ability, I would be able to get those shots back," McIlroy said of his bogeys on his second and third holes, par 4s at Nos. 10 and 11. "I didn't panic. I didn't try to do anything different. Just tried to keep playing the way I was."

Woods felt fortunate to still be playing. He was over the cut line after scrambling for bogey on the 11th hole and wound up with 69 to make the cut on the number at par 140. Woods hit only two greens over his last nine holes. His lone birdie on the back nine was a chip-in on the 13th after he missed the green with a wedge.

"It was a grind, there's no doubt about it," Woods said. "I didn't hit it very good. Just one of those days where I fought out a number, which was good."

Because 79 players made the cut, there is another cut today, to top 70 and ties.

At least Woods is playing on the weekend. Phil Mickelson isn't. Playing the Honda Classic for the first time in 12 years, he had 71 to miss the cut at 141. Also missing the cut was Henrik Stenson, No. 3 in the world, with rounds of 73-76.

McIlroy knew that feeling a year ago, when he took a steep fall from No. 1 while changing equipment and trying to live up to high expectations, leading to his snap decision to walk off the course after 26 holes at the Honda Classic.

A growing gallery in warm sunshine at PGA National on Friday saw the McIlroy who won the Honda Classic two years ago.

Swinging freely and putting beautifully, McIlroy hit his stride on his back nine with four birdies in five holes, including the par-5 third when he smashed a drive some 35 yards past playing partner Adam Scott and had only a 6-iron into the green on the 539-yard hole.

"When you're not quite in control of your swing, your confidence can sort of go in peaks and troughs," McIlroy said. "When you hit a few good shots, your confidence can go up quite quickly, but then you hit one bad one, it can sort of go down again, and that's where I was sort of most of last year.

"Now I feel I'm happy with where my swing is, and … I have the confidence in what I'm doing."

LPGA: Karrie Webb recovered from a back-nine lapse to shoot 3-under 69 and maintain her lead at the HSBC Women's Champions after the second round in Singapore. She bogeyed Nos. 13 and 15 but finished birdie-par to reach 9-under 135 and open a two-stroke lead over Angela Stanford (69). Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (71) was 2 under.

McIlroy in control; Tiger hangs on 02/28/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 8:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  2. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.
  3. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  4. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return

    Blogs

    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.