Luke List and Jamie Lovemark moved into a share of a one-stroke lead at a windy Honda Classic on Friday as Tiger Woods was left to rue a late lapse that left him four shots off the pace after he signed for a one-over 71. The leaders reached the halfway mark on three-under-par 137 with Woods in contention on a tightly packed leaderboard despite dropping three shots in two holes on his back nine at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“Two bad swings and it cost me three shots,” the 14-times major champion told Golf Channel after an errant tee shot led to a double-bogey five on the par-three 15th, which the American followed with a bogey five on the next hole. However, the 42-year-old former world number one birdied the 17th and closed with a par to sit in a tie for 14th in his third tournament of 2018 as he continues his latest comeback following back surgery last year.
“It’s a strong test right now,” said Woods, who also had two birdies and a bogey on the front nine to sign for a one-over-par 141 total after 36 holes in testing conditions, particularly on the greens. “It feels good,” he said. “I feel solid. I feel I am making some good passes at the golf ball and I’ve got pretty good pace on the greens, except for that putt at 16.”
Early starter List made five birdies in a four-under 66 to surge up the leaderboard with the low round of the day after he had opened with a one-over 71 on Thursday. “Only one bogey,” List told reporters. “I’m really pleased the way I played. A bunch of pars and kind of hang on.”
Fellow American Lovemark later shot a 69 for a share of the halfway lead. “I finally found a driver I like,” said the American, who made three of his four birdies on the back nine.
Overnight co-leader Webb Simpson was in a group of four one stroke behind the leading pair, the American shooting a 72 to join Briton Tommy Fleetwood (68), compatriot Russell Henley (70) and South African Rory Sabbatini (69) on two-under-par 138. Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and South African Louis Oosthuizen all shot 72s to join Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (70) in a quartet tied for seventh on 139.
Swede Alex Noren, who had shared the first round lead with Simpson, shot a four-over 75 to join Woods’ group of 10 at 141. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, shot a second consecutive 72 to sit seven off the lead, but defending champion Rickie Fowler failed to make the cut after a 76 gave him a 147 total, two shots shy of qualifying for the weekend.