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Wind shifts leaders at Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Delighted to be 5 under at the midway point of the windy Honda Classic, Rory Sabbatini predicted the score would be enough to win the tournament.

A few hours later, his lead was gone.

The gusts of more than 20 mph abated some, and Kyle Stanley took advantage with his late tee time Friday. He shot 4-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Sabbatini.

Stanley, 23, seeking his first PGA Tour title, was at 6-under 134. Sabbatini was second after shooting 64, matching the tournament's best round since it moved to PGA National in 2007. Charl Schwartzel was third at 3 under after 69.

Stanley had six birdies, including three in a row, to offset two bogeys. He was 1 under on holes 15 through 17, the daunting stretch known as the Bear Trap.

"The wind probably wasn't as strong as it was Thursday," Stanley said. "Late in my round, it wasn't really a factor."

Stanley played at Clemson, turned pro in 2009 and had a career-best 13th-place finish last week in the Mayakoba Golf Classic. "I feel like I've been playing well all year but haven't quite put four good rounds together," he said. "I'm getting better, and that's the main thing."

Among those five shots behind at 1 under were Lee Westwood, who fell to No. 2 in the world rankings this week behind Martin Kaymer, and first-round leader Spencer Levin. Westwood shot 69, Levin 72.

The cut was at 6 over, highest on the tour this year. But the scores improved Friday to an average of 72.3, compared with 73.9 in the opening round.

The wind had many players scrambling. Defending champion and former Gator Camilo Villegas missed the cut, shooting 78 to sit 17 over. Mike Weir had four double bogeys and a triple bogey en route to a career-worst 85, leaving him 22 over.

Obit: Frank Chirkinian, a longtime golf producer for CBS who helped turn the Masters into one of the most-watched sports events on TV, died after a long bout with lung cancer. He was 84. Mr. Chirkinian, who died at his home in North Palm Beach, was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame last month in an emergency vote after it became widely known he was being treated for cancer. He would have been inducted May 9 in St. Augustine.

Wind shifts leaders at Honda Classic 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 9:32pm]
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