GOLF: Stanley leads Honda Classic after 36 holes
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Delighted to be 5-under par 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, shooting a 4-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Sabbatini.
Stanley, seeking his first PGA Tour title, was at 6-under 134. Sabbatini shot a 64, matching the tournament’s best round since it moved to PGA National in 2007.
Charl Schwartzel was third at 3 under after a 69, and Ricky Barnes (68), Jerry Kelly (67), Stuart Appleby (70) and Tommy Gainey (67) were 2 under.
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.”
The 23-year-old 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 rankings this week behind Martin Kaymer, and first-round leader Spencer Levin. Westwood shot a 69, and Levin a 72.
Matt Kuchar’s tour-best streak of 153 consecutive holes without a three-putt ended, but he shot a 70 and was also 1 under. He won the tournament in 2002.
The cut was at 6 over, highest on the tour this year.