Swede Noren leads in Florida, Woods shoots even par

Jason Day of Australia reacts after missing an eagle putt on the second green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro Am golf tournament Sunday Feb. 11 2018 in Pebble Beach Calif. (AP
PGA Tour power rankings- Week of Feb. 19-25 Eric Risberg Associated Press

25 February, 2018

Offaly golfer Shane Lowry will be hoping for better fortune as he tees off at the Honda Classic on Thursday on the PGA Tour in Florida.

Again, you're going to want to take a flyer; the favorites haven't been performing well enough recently to warrant their lines.

Only 19 players were under par in Thursday's opening round, co-leaders Alex Noren and Webb Simpson among them after rounds of 4-under 66.

Tiger Woods is continuing his quest to win another Major with further preparation at this week's Honda Classic tournament on the PGA Tour.

Playing in consistent winds of 15-20 miles per hour, Noren began his round on the back nine. The stretch from Nos. Garcia had three wins in 2017, most he has had since 2008. Smylie Kaufman shot 13-over 83 and Kevin Kisner carded a 9-over 79.

PGA National Resort is a par 70, mid-length course that ranks as one of the toughest non-major tracks these pros will face all year.

The only blunder - outside of a bogey from a bunker on the 16th, and those were bound to happen on a day like this - was on the second-easiest hole on the course.

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The defending Honda Classic champion Fowler is the sports betting favorite for the 2018 edition of this tournament.

"It was a pretty tough day", McIlroy said. It's only going to get more hard because these greens are not the best. I feel like I'm just waiting for everything to sort of fit together. Frittelli is a 27-year-old, who has yet to win on the PGA level, but you can't doubt his current form and his consistency to stay in the thick of the field.

McIlroy should have heeded Simpson's advice. - The last we saw of Tiger Woods at the Champions Course at PGA National Resort and Spa, he was walking gingerly to his vehicle after withdrawing after 13 holes in the final round of the 2014 Honda Classic due to back spasms. "I played quite steady my front nine, which was the back nine, then I just scrambled my way around the front nine", Noren said. "There's some times where you've got a ideal number over water to a tucked pin and you're tempted to go 5 feet left of it when you need to go 15 feet left of it". That's where he would put his drive in a fairway bunker, his third shot into a green-side bunker, chunk his sand-shot, and ultimately double-bogey the hole.

Woods rebounded with a birdie on the following hole and closed out his round with five consecutive pars. Steaming from those unforced errors, he was between a 2- and 3-iron off the tee. Woods tied for 23rd at Torrey Pines and missed the cut at Riviera.

She said having so many people wearing the burgundy ribbons is unifying, "because I've had even a player ask me where did I get my ribbon and I gave him one". I didn't do that in L.A., hit the ball in the wrong spots and consequently, I was down the road after two days. Winds will stay in the 5-10 miles per hour range each day, with some occasional higher gusts for the afternoon, but nothing the players aren't used to. I had to work the golf ball both ways, and occasionally downwind, straight up in the air. "I wasn't very good on Friday, more importantly, I didn't putt very good".

Russell Knox - Russell Knox has made the cut in eight of his last nine events and is fresh off a top-15 finish at Pebble Beach.

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