The 17th hole on the Champion course at PGA National is the final hole of the notoriously challenging three-hole section known as the Bear Trap. Those three holes have claimed many victims over the years.
But not Alex Cejka on Day 1 of the 2016 Honda Classic.
Cejka aced the 177-yard par 3 in the glorious afternoon sunlight, setting off a roar from the crowd surrounding the small green.
Despite the late hole-in-one, the first round was an up-and-down affair for Cejka, who hovered around the projected cut line and stands at 1-over-par after an eagle-birdie finish to his day. Check out the full leaderboard here.
The 17th is a par 3 that has been lengthened to 190 yards over the water and into a very small green that is bunkered left. This is a par 3 that will present a lot of problems; it always has in the past.
Welcome to the 2016 Honda Classic from the Champion course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens!
We at The Palm Beach Post will be here all day long with scores, news, updates and more from Thursday’s Round 1 of the tournament.
2:50 p.m.: Through eight holes, stars Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler have moved into first place and a tie for second, respectively. Garcia is currently four under par, while Fowler is a stroke behind him.
1:35 p.m.: Shane Lowry finishes his first round with a birdie and an eagle on Holes 17 and 18. He is tied for first with George McNeill at three-under 67
1:20 p.m.: Phil Mickelson wraps up his first round with a score of 1-under 69, good for a tie for sixth.
12:10 p.m.: George McNeill made a par putt on the 18th hole to cap off a steady 3-under-par opening round, good for the clubhouse lead. McNeill had six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on the par-4 11th. David Lingmerth, Ricky Barnes and Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back. Phil Mickelson is in a large group two back.
11:52 a.m.: George McNeill has moved into a tie with David Lingmerth atop the leaderboard at 3-under par. McNeill has completed 17 holes and is trying to become the first clubhouse leader of the week. Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back.
11:30 a.m.: David Lingmerth continues to lead at 3 under through 12 holes on his round. He is being chased by a pack of four golfers at 2 under, including Phil Mickelson and Cardinal Newman product Brooks Koepka (through 12 holes) and Ricky Barnes (10 holes). Jupiter resident Ernie Els is at 1 under. Nicholas Thompson is at 10 over through 17 holes.
11:15 a.m.: Phil Mickelson suffered a bogey on the par-4 second hole, his 11th hole of the day, to fall into a tie for second, one shot behind leader David Lingmerth. Mickelson is tied with Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka, Ricky Barnes and George McNeill.
10:56 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth continue to lead the tournament at 3 under. Palm Beach Gardens resident Brooks Koepka has birdied three straight holes (17, 18 and 1) to move to 2 under.
10:40 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth are tied for the lead at 3 under. Mickelson, who started on the back nine, birdied the par-5 18th hole to complete his first nine holes with four birdies and a bogey. He began the front nine with a par. Lingmerth was playing the front nine while Mickelson was on the back and like Lefty he birdied his last hole before making the turn.
10:25 a.m.. Ricky Barnes’ solo hold on the lead was short. He bogeyed the sixth hole and is now in a seven-way tie for first at 2 under with Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, David Lingmerth and Paul Casey.
10:15 am.: Ricky Barnes has sole possession of the lead at 3 under through five holes after George McNeill suffered a double-bogey at the par-4 11th hole to fall to 1 under. Phil Mickelson, who started on the back nine, is playing No. 18 and is at 2 under, locked in a seven-way tie for second.
10 a.m.: Ricky Barnes (through five holes) and George McNeill (through 10) continue to share the lead at 3 under par. Phil Mickelson is at 2 under through eight holes. He started on the back nine. Six golfers are tied at 2 under, including Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb and Paul Casey.
9:55 a.m.: Ricky Barnes has birdied the par 3 fifth hole to move into a tie for the lead with George McNeill at 3 under.
9:50 a.m.: George McNeill continues to lead at 3 under par as he plays his 10th hole of the day. There is a six-way tie for second that includes Phil Mickelson, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb, Paul Casey and Ricky Barnes. Several stars are over par early, including Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Adam Scott, all at 1 over. Jonas Blixt, who was among the leaders early, has fallen to 3 over after back-to-back bogies at 10 and 11.
9:34 a.m.: George McNeill has made the turn at 3 under and leads a group of seven golfers, including Phil Mickelson, by one shot. McNeill ran off a string of birdies at Nos. 3-5, bogeyed No. 6 but then made his birdie putt at No. 9 to move out front.
9:24 a.m.: Phil Mickelson started the Bear Trap with a birdie and Shane Lowry bogeyed the par-3 seventh hole, helping create a logjam at 2 under in the Honda Classic. Mickelson and Lowry are tied with George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Russell Knox and David Lingmerth. After making a birdie on two of his first three holes, Mickelson, who started on the back nine, bogeyed the 14th but rebounded with a birdie at No. 15 to get to 2 under.
9 a.m.: Shane Lowry is at the top of the leaderboard after a birdie on the fourth hole has him at 3 under. George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson and Russell Knox are at 2 under.
8 a.m.: There is a six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Honda Classic this morning. Phil Mickelson birdied his first hole and is tied with Cameron Tringale, George McNeill, Daniel Summerhays, Emiliano Grillo and Branden Grace at 1 under.
7:30 a.m.: Daniel Summerhays birdies his first hole to take the lead at the 2016 Honda Classic
7:15 a.m.: Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair are at even par through the two holes. Hudson Swafford rebounds from his opening double-bogey to post the first birdie of the tournament.
7 a.m.: The first scores are in from round one of the Honda Classic. Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair par their first holes. Blixt went off the first tee, O’Hair off the 10th. Hudson Swafford and Chad Collins double-bogey their first holes.
6 a.m.: Here are the groups and tee times for Rounds 1 and 2. Remember, things get started pretty early both days: The first groups tee off at 6:45 a.m. But they’re long days, since the final groups don’t get out on the course until 1:35 p.m.
Please stick with us as we’ll be updating this post all day with news from on and off the course. And you can always keep track of the updated leaderboard.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tiger Woods has posted a video of him swinging a 9-iron in a golf simulator. His agent says the video was posted to rebut rumors on social media that he had taken a turn for the worse following two back surgeries last fall.
Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports Management said Monday that the rumors were ridiculous.
“On the Tour, who is the best, if you’re allowed talk, you’d probably give it to Phil Mickelson,” Harrington said jokingly. “In terms of pure being able to give verbal out there in a friendly game. Obviously you (can’t) do that in a competitive game; Phil is pretty good at hustling and bustling his competitors.”
Harrington, a two-time Honda Classic champion, also joked about who young golfers idolize. Before Harrington addressed the media, U.S. Kids Gold and Honda honored 13-year-old Yae Eun Kim and 12-year-old Luke Clanton as the 2015 U.S. Kids Golf Players of the Year. Clanton mentioned Jason Day and Jordan Speith as his favorites, prompting a reporter to ask if Harrington’s “marketing efforts slacked off.”
“You’d want to be a little older than 12 to look up to me,” he said.
“I’m doing my own thing out there, getting on with it, and I’ll have plenty of my own fans, but generally, they are a little older.”
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – One of the best fields of the year thus far on the PGA TOUR is now final and ready to take on the challenge of PGA National’s Champion course in the 2016 Honda Classic.
Four of the Top 10 players in the world — No. 2 Rory McIlroy (2012 Honda Champion), No. 4 Rickie Fowler, No. 9 Patrick Reed and No. 10 Branden Grace — will play in the February 22-February 28 tournament and 11 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be in the field. That includes No. 12 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 15 Zach Johnson, No. 16 Brooks Koepka, No. 17 Kevin Kisner, No. 18 Sergio Garcia, No. 19 Adam Scott, and No. 20 Phil Mickelson.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington will return to defend his title and be challenged by 2015 runner-up Daniel Berger and TOUR mainstays such as Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby (1997 Honda Champion), Keegan Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Luke Donald (2006 Honda Champion), Jason Dufner, Ernie Els (2008 Honda Champion), Retief Goosen, Russell Henley (2014 Honda Champion), Russell Knox, Davis Love III, Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter, Rory Sabbatini (2011 Honda Champion), Vijay Singh (1999 Honda Champion), Michael Thompson (2013 Honda Champion), Jimmy Walker, Boo Weekley, Mike Weir and Mark Wilson (2007 Honda Champion).
Exemptions are being awarded to Andy Sullivan, the No. 29 player in the world, No. 37 Bernd Wiesberger, No. 45 Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ollie Schniederjans, Tom Gillis, Dicky Pride, Sam Saunders, Nicholas Thompson and Steve Marino.
“We are thrilled at the quality of our field and the mix between established veterans of the game and the younger generation which has been so impactful on the PGA TOUR in the early stages of their careers,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly. “It should be a phenomenal week of golf and when you mix in some of the additional events we have such as the Kenny G Community concert after play on Thursday and our array of hospitality offerings at The Bear Trap and around the golf course, we think we are providing something for everybody to make their visit to The Honda Classic memorable.”
The official list of PGA Tour professionals and international players who will compete in the 2016 Honda Classic.
Brendon de Jonge
Charles Howell III
Si Woo Kim
Davis Love III
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Harold Varner III
van der Walt, Dawie
Carballo, Miguel Angel