The second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is officially in the rearview mirror, and Rory McIlroy is pacing the deep field.
Here is a look at the current top 10 of the leaderboard.
|Position||Player||Overall||Round 1||Round 2|
|2||Brendon de Jonge||-10||66||64|
McIlroy’s excellence is what immediately jumps out, but it was far from the only storyline. Let’s dig into a few takeaways from Round 2.
Rory McIlroy Halfway Home
McIlroy didn’t exactly come out of the gates on fire.
The current leader bogeyed two of the first three holes but ended up adding six birdies to finish with a four-under 66. He holds a one-stroke lead over Brendon de Jonge.
McIlroy’s recovery from his rocky start mirrored his overall strides he has made on the PGA National course. Just one year ago, McIlroy withdrew after 27 holes and walked straight to his car. His actions brought some backlash, especially because he was the No. 1 player in the world at the time.
He spoke with reporters about the difference a year makes in comments that were passed along by Bob Harig of ESPN.com:
It's a different end of the spectrum. I wasn't quite comfortable with my golf swing. I was still tinkering with equipment. I just wasn't feeling in control of what I needed to be in control of.
This year is obviously a lot different. Got off to a good start; I'm confident; I'm playing well. This is the second straight tournament I've opened with a 63. So if I can keep building on these good starts, then hopefully I can start converting.
Tiger Flirting with the Cut
Fair or not to the other golfers, where Tiger Woods is on the leaderboard will always be one of the primary stories at any golf tournament.
Woods flirted with the cut line all day long Friday and eventually remained in the field with a one-under 69. He is even-par overall on the tournament, which is exactly where the cut line was after two rounds.
Tiger is not out of the woods (pun not intended) just yet though, as he is still in danger of a 54-hole cut. If more than 78 players advance past the second round, the field gets cut to 70 after three rounds. If this happens, Woods would still be credited with a made cut, did not finish (MDF).
Woods talked about his struggles with Harig of ESPN.com.
“It was a grind, there's no doubt about it," he said. "I certainly grinded my way around this place today. I didn't hit it very good. Just one of those days where I fought out a number, which was good.”
Looking forward, Woods could use the weekend to try to establish some momentum going ahead in the season. He struggled at both Torrey Pines and Dubai and finished in 80th and 41st, respectively.
He did finish under par on Friday, so a similar performance on Saturday would help him gain some confidence in his game before the majors arrive.
Brendon de Jonge Quietly in Contention
Brendon de Jonge may not have the name recognition that McIlroy or Woods do, but he has played with an impressive level of consistency at the Honda Classic.
As a result of his six-under 64 on Friday, de Jonge is now in second place and one stroke off the lead.
He has been impressive with the drives, irons and putter, as Will Haskett of SiriusXM PGA Tour pointed out:
Brendon de Jonge didn't gloat about his play but should: T7 FIR, T4 GIR, 2nd strokes gained putting. All working @TheHondaClassic— Will Haskett (@willhaskett) February 28, 2014
There may not have been any gloating from de Jonge after two rounds, but if he plays like he has through two rounds over the weekend, he will earn the right to pat himself on the back.
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