PALM BEACH GARDENS — Michael Thompson relied on a superb short game to win for the first time on the PGA Tour and get a spot in the Masters.
Thompson seized control at the Honda Classic early in Sunday's final round with a 50-foot eagle putt on the third hole. He kept the lead with clutch par saves and closed with a birdie from the bunker. His 1-under 69 was one of only five rounds under par at PGA National and gave him a two-shot win at 9-under 271 over Geoff Ogilvy.
"This week was magical," said Thompson, 27, the 2008 SEC golfer of the year at Alabama. "Just had a groove and kept feeling it."
The runnerup finish for Ogilvy (69), the 2006 U.S. Open champion, moved him from 79th to 47th in the world rankings and got him into the World Golf Championships event at Doral this week, the Cadillac Championship.
Luke Guthrie, tied with Thompson for the 54-hole lead, fell behind with a bogey on the second hole and closed with 73 to finish third at 5 under.
Tiger Woods was never in the picture.
He started the final round eight shots behind, and whatever hopes he had of a rally ended on the sixth hole when he hit his drive so far to the right that the ball was never found.
He closed with 74 — his first time since last year's Masters he failed to break par in any round of a 72-hole tournament — and tied for 37th at 4 over.
A year ago, Woods shot a final-round 62 to finish second.
"I passed 62 (Sunday) somewhere on 12," Woods joked.
Nicklaus: McIlroy a 'good kid,' will be fine
Rory McIlroy is probably frustrated with his game and his adjustment to new equipment, Jack Nicklaus says, and that's why he walked out of the Honda Classic after eight holes of the second round sitting at 7 over.
McIlroy told reporters as he left Friday he was "not in a good place mentally" and later issued a statement saying he withdrew because of a sore wisdom tooth.
McIlory signed with Nike in the offseason. In his two other starts this year, he missed the cut and lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship.
"He shouldn't have walked off," Nicklaus said. "If he had thought about it for five minutes, he wouldn't have done it.
"Rory is so talented. He's a good kid. I think he's a little frustrated. He's probably not playing his best, and he also has a set of golf clubs that he's having trouble getting used to, and one sort of plays off the other. He'll be fine."
McIlroy has a home in Jupiter and plays out of Jupiter's Bear's Club, built by Nicklaus as his South Florida home. He seeks advice from Nicklaus whenever they meet. They spoke last Monday, Nicklaus said: "He was struggling a little bit with his irons. But he felt confident of it. I said, 'Don't worry about it. You're too good of a player. Your clubs will not make that much difference.' Maybe it's easy for me to say."
LPGA: Stacy Lewis won the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore with a final-round 1-under 71 to finish at 15-under 273. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (70) finished at 4 under and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (75) at 8 over.