Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Friday, February 24th, 2017

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Thomas among notable MCs at Honda Classic 02-24-2017
Justin Thomas
World No. 8 Justin Thomas, a pre-tourney 16/1 outright, conjured up an even-par 36-34=70 in the second round of The Honda Classic and at 1-over 71-70=141, missed the cut by one shot. A total of 70 players from a field of 144 made the cut of even-par 140. Thomas, winner in three of his first five starts this season, has now missed the cut in two of his last three, interrupted only by T39 at last week's Genesis Open. He opened with a four-birdie five-bogey showing, lowlighted by four straight squares on holes 13-16, and cancelled two birdies in R2 with double bogey-6 at the second. The 23-year-old ranked 115th in driving accuracy (14/28) and 109th in SG: Approach-the-Green (-1.723). Other notable departures include: 141- 2008 champ Ernie Els; Danny Willett; 2011 champ Rory Sabbatini; William McGirt .. 142- Thomas Pieters .. 143- Jason Bohn; Daniel Berger .. 144- Hudson Swafford .. 145- Russell Knox; two-time champ Padraig Harrington .. 146- Keegan Bradley; Jeff Overton .. 148- Patrick Rodgers .. 149- Brooks Koepka; 2013 champ Michael Thompson .. 150- 2010 champ Camilo Villegas.
DeLaet keeps his name in the mix at the Honda 02-24-2017
Hidezumi Shirakata
Graham DeLaet swallowed his first two bogeys of the week but still managed a 2-under-par 33-35=68 during the second round of The Honda Classic, heading into the weekend in a share of fifth place on 6-under 134. The Canadian caught fire with the flat stick today. He opened with a 12'11" birdie splash at the par-4 first and converted four more from 13-to-17 feet before the round was over. All these putts were setup by steady ball-striking, landing 15 greens in regulation on the day. At the midpoint, the Canuck ranks T4 in GIR percentage. DeLaet is still searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR but he's in great position heading into the weekend just three strokes off the pace set by Wesley Bryan and Ryan Palmer.
W. Bryan shares 36-hole lead at the Honda 02-24-2017
Wesley Bryan
Wesley Bryan won the battle with PGA National's Champion Course, walking away with a 3-under-par 33-34=67 during the second round of The Honda Classic, giving him a share of the 36-hole clubhouse lead alongside Ryan Palmer. The overnight co-leader showed no sign of sleeping on the lead, leading off round two with three straight birdies. He swallowed a bogey at the par-4 fourth and could have let the round get away from him at the par-4 eighth, but in true trick-shot fashion he pulled off a miracle recovery shot from the pine straw, in between the trees, to salvage par. Bryan would find tree trouble again at the 13th, but showed some smarts by just putting out and taking his medicine (bogey) instead of racking up a big number. This goes in the books as Bryan's second career lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. The first co-lead came at the 2016 John Deere Classic where he'd go on to finish T8 by week's end.
Hatton heats up the putter in R2 of Honda 02-24-2017
Tyrrell Hatton
World No. 18 Tyrrell Hatton styled a 3-under-par 35-32=67 during the second round of The Honda Classic, giving him a position inside the top 10 on 5-under 135. The Englishman started the day in a share of 24th place after opening with a 2-under 68. He moved up 17 spots on the live leaderboard but didn't make it look easy today, finding just eight (of 14) fairways and landing 11 greens, but made up for it on the greens. Hatton made the biggest wave at the par-5 18th after going for the green successfully and then dropping home a 45'8" eagle splash. On the day, he gained 2.43 strokes putting, and currently ranks fifth in the field in that regard. The Englishman arrived with eight straight top 25s internationally and the long trip to the Florida is not slowing him down.
Defender Scott six back at Honda midpoint 02-24-2017
Adam Scott
World No. 7 and defending champ Adam Scott bobbed and weaved to a 1-under-par 33-36=69 in today's second round of The Honda Classic to post 3-under 137, currently up seven spots to T17 and six back of 36-hole co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Wesley Bryan. The top-ranked player -- and pre-tourney fave outright -- was 5-under and T1 at the midpoint last year (70-65). He began his defense with a five-birdie three-bogey 68 on four (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation. The 36-year-old improved to seven fairways and 13 GIR, but dipped to 1.692 putts per GIR and -0.844 SG: Putting, taking 30 putts to get around. He was bogey-free 3-under thru 13 holes, but didn't record a par in his last five holes, carding bogey-birdie-double-bogey-birdie to finish. The Aussie's split on five birdies included three conversions from between 10 and 20 feet, highlighted by a walk-off 4 at the 18th from 10'9".
Stallings steady in R2 of Honda Classic 02-24-2017
Scott Stallings
Scott Stallings kept a steady pace in round two of The Honda Classic, piecing together a 2-under-par 33-35=68 to reach the weekend on 5-under 135. The Tennessee Tech product didn't circle a hole-in-one like the opening round, but still managed six birdies to offset a pair of bogeys and a double. Most of his work was accomplished with the irons, gaining 2.543 strokes approaching-the-green (2.527 total strokes gained). One highlight included a 208-yard tee shot at the par-3 fifth that he landed to 7'8" to setup a birdie. Stallings finds himself four strokes off the pace set by early leader Ryan Palmer. In four previous weekend rounds at PGA National, Stallings has posted rounds of 72, 71, 78, and 70.
First-round co-leader Gribble balloons to 76 02-24-2017
Cody Gribble
Beginning on No. 10 tee, overnight co-leader and PGA TOUR rookie Cody Gribble back-pedaled to a 6-over-par 38-38=76 in the second round of The Honda Classic to post even-par 140, down 58 places to T59 with play still in progress. After kicking off his tourney debut with a seven-birdie one-bogey 64, the World No. 197 co-led with fellow rookie and first-timer Wesley Bryan. He did the exact opposite in round 2, circling just one birdie against seven bogeys on four (of 14) fairways and five greens in regulation -- this after becoming the first in the 11-year history at PGA National to hit all 18 GIR in R1. The Texan, who's right on the cut line, lost 5.809 strokes tee-to-green and posted a dismal 2.200 putts per GIR.
Poston holes out twice in R2 of the Honda 02-24-2017
JT Poston
J.T. Poston put on a short-game clinic en route to a 3-under-par 34-33=67 during round two of The Honda Classic, arriving at the midpoint on 4-under 136. On Wednesday Poston shared a funny experience on Twitter that may have provided some motivation, "Walking to my car at PGA National and got asked by a man if I worked with valet. Before I could answer he hands me the keys. #playbetter." So far, he's listening to his own hashtag by playing better. Today, he leaned heavily on the short game, holing out twice from off the green for birdie and also splashing home a pair of putts from the 19-to-21 foot range. Poston walked off the course gaining 2.448 strokes around-the-green and 2.081 strokes putting. The Western Carolina product is likely happy to return to bermuda greens this week, and gamers should keep him on their radars moving forward.
Rookie Spaun opens Honda debut in twin 68s 02-24-2017
J.J. Spaun
Making his tourney debut, PGA TOUR rookie J.J. Spaun carved out a 2-under-par 32-36=68 in the second round of The Honda Classic to reach 4-under 136, up 14 places to T10 with play still in progress. The World No. 118 checked in off a missed cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago. He preceded that with a career-best T4 at the Phoenix Open, which he got into with a T9 at the Farmers. The Californian hasn't skipped a beat in the kickoff of the Florida Swing, throwing up a pair of 68s. His circled five birdies in R1, offset by one bogey and a double, and squared two in R2, but outpaced them with an eagle-3 and two birdies, all realized in a three-hole span at Nos. 3-5.
Lahiri maintains a spot near the top after R2 02-24-2017
Anirban Lahiri
Anirban Lahiri kept his foot on the gas with a 2-under-par 33-35=68 during the second round of The Honda Classic, reaching 7-under 133 to find himself two strokes off the early pacesetter Ryan Palmer. The 29-year-old out of India is playing in his second home this week, and playing well through two days. The big difference between his opening rounds can be boiled down to putting variance. Lahiri gained 4.559 strokes putting in R1 but mustered up just 0.078 strokes gained putting today. Despite finding just 17 (of 28) fairways so far, the big hitter is taking the correct routes as he currently ranks 4th in strokes gained off-the-tee. Lahiri is still searching for his first PGA TOUR win, but he's placing himself in a great position to strike over the weekend.
Woodland rebounds for 66 in R2 at Honda 02-24-2017
Gary Woodland
After an opening 1-over 71, World No. 41 Gary Woodland rallied for a 4-under-par 31-35=66 in today's second round of The Honda Classic for a two-day total of 3-under 137, up 68 spots on the live leaderboard to T16. The 32-year-old improves to 5-for-5 at PGA National's Champion Course. In his prior four visits, he's logged just one finish inside the top 60, a T6 in 2011. Along with three bogeys in R1, the Kansas alum ate double bogey-6 at the 11th to outbalance three birdies. He circled six in R2, taking some luster off with double at the par-4 12th. For a second straight round, Woodland striped 11 (of 14) fairways and improved one to 15 greens in regulation, posting 1.667 putts per GIR and 1.853 SG: Putting. His split featured three from between eight and 12 feet, adding a 38-foot bomb for birdie-3 at six.
Steele rallies back in Round 2 of the Honda 02-24-2017
Brendan Steele
Brendan Steele fought back from an early-week quintuple bogey to claw his way back above the cut line, firing a 5-under-par 33-32=65 in round two, reaching 2-under 138 after two days of play at The Honda Classic. Steele opened on the back nine in round one and found himself at 6-over after passing through the Bear Trap. He circled a quintuple 9 at the par-4 14th after finding water three times. He rinsed another ball at the following hole to record a double bogey at the tricky par-3 15th. Since that rough patch, Steele circled 10 birdies and an eagle to offset a four-pack of bogeys. The 33-year-old showed tremendous resilience and is now safely through the cut line with a clean slate heading into the weekend. On the down side, Steele has signed just one red number in 12 weekend rounds at PGA National.
Waring leads Joburg; R2 will finish Saturday 02-24-2017
Paul Waring
Paul Waring held a one-shot lead after reaching 12-under through 12 holes of his second round when play was suspended due to bad light on day two of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Thursday's early finish due to waterlogging and a delayed start today means this week's European Tour event continues to play catch up and irregular scoring updates on the ET's official website are only adding to gamers' frustration. Waring had posted a 65 on the tougher East course yesterday morning and continued oh the birdie trail with five more today on the West. His set included an opening pair and three straight from Nos. 9-11. A par at 12 left him at 12-under when play was called, a shot clear of clubhouse leader Darren Fichardt and Dean Burmester, who has three holes to finish off. Another South African, Jacques Kruyswijk, was a further stroke back on 10-under. The second round will resume at 7.00am Saturday.
R. Palmer posts -9; 36-hole clubhouse leader 02-24-2017
Ryan Palmer
Beginning on No. 10 tee, World No. 88 Ryan Palmer styled a 5-under-par 31-34=65 in the second round of The Honda Classic, tying the low round of the day thus far with Brendan Steele and posting the early 36-hole clubhouse lead at 9-under 131. With preferred lies in effect for a second straight lap, the 40-year-old began with bogey-5 at 10 (failed scramble) but rebounded for a three-birdie train on holes 13-15, kicking off the run with a 43-footer at the par-4 13th. He squared one more at the par-3 17th, three-putting from 43'5", but then played his final 10 holes in 4-under, circling Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 8, each from seven feet and in. The Texan found eight (of 14) fairways and 15 greens in regulation, currently pacing the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at 9.051. He's doing the majority of his work in that category, signing his card at 62nd in SG: Putting (0.591).
Fowler flings another 66 in R2 of the Honda 02-24-2017
Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler torched PGA National's Champion Course in the second round of The Honda Classic, signing a 4-under-par 34-32=66 to arrive at the midpoint on 8-under 132, good for solo second on the early round two leaderboard. Fowler is having déjà vu at PGA National, opening with twin 66s, just like last year. In the 2016 edition, he claimed the title of 36-hole leader with his 132 aggregate before posting 74-71 over the weekend to finish T6 come Sunday night. Today, the scoring start right away, splashing home a 23'11" birdie at the par-4 10th to build confidence. He would maintain a steady putter throughout the round, converting five more putts from outside six feet. Fowler continues to play well at PGA National and should remain in the thick of things over the weekend.
Kaymer backs up with even-par 70 in round 2 02-24-2017
Martin Kaymer
Beginning off No. 10 tee, World No. 51 Martin Kaymer conjured an even-par 35-35=70 in today's second round of The Honda Classic to reach the halfway point on 5-under 135, down four places to T7 with play still in progress. In a complete reversal from round 1, the 32-year-old mustered just four (of 14) fairways and eight greens in regulation. After gaining 4.271 strokes tee-to-green on Thursday, he lost 1.747 in round 2. The German cancelled out bogeys at 14 and 3 with one conventional birdie from 10'5" at the par-4 11th and a chip-in 2 (from 36'8" away) for birdie at the par-3 fifth. He posted a pedestrian 1.875 putts per GIR but a steady 2.000 SG: Putting on 25 putts total, buoyed by four par-savers from between five and eight feet.
Donald contending as usual at PGA National 02-24-2017
Luke Donald
Luke Donald breezed through PGA National's Champion Course in round two of The Honda Classic, styling a 3-under-par 35-32=67 to reach 4-under 136 after 36 holes. The Englishman started on the 10th tee today and made an early scoring splash at the par-4 12th when he holed out from 161 yards for eagle. Donald followed it up at the 13th by sticking his 106-yard wedge approach to 2'5" for a tap-in birdie. After that, he traded a bogey at 2 with a birdie at 4 to coast home without much drama. Donald is no stranger to success at this event. Playing his 10th edition of the Honda, this will be the eighth time he's positioned himself inside the top 20 at the midpoint.
List opens third Honda Classic in twin 68s 02-24-2017
Luke List
World No. 190 Luke List tacked on a 2-under-par 32-36=68 in the second round of The Honda Classic to reach 4-under 136, up 14 spots on the live leaderboard to T10. The 32-year-old is making his third appearance after a missed cut in 2013 (73-73) and T10 last year (73-65-70-71). He arrived off T13 (Sony), T41 (CareerBuilder) and three consecutive missed cuts, including by two at last week's Genesis Open (72-72). The Jupiter, Florida, resident's 68 today equaled his first-round showing, where he circled seven birdies against three bogeys and double bogey-5 at 17. Today's lap was basically the same, landing six (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation, while carding four birdies versus two bogeys.
C.T. Pan keeps a steady pace in R2 of Honda 02-24-2017
C.T. Pan pushed on after a strong opening round at The Honda Classic, finding a 2-under-par 33-35=68 during his second navigation of PGA National's Champion Course, climbing to 6-under 134 at the midpoint. Pan used a balanced attack on day one, but today he went back to the type of round we expect from the Washington Husky product. Known for his stellar short game, Pan held true to his reputation today, splashing home three putts from outside 13 feet and also chipping in from 27'10" for birdie at the last. Pan is making his tournament debut this week, but is feasting on the soft conditions. The 25-year-old sits at T3 on the live leaderboard as he walks off the course, and should remain inside the top 10 by day's end.
Hoffmann overcomes triple bogey-7 in R2 02-24-2017
Morgan Hoffmann
Beginning on No. 10 tee, World No. 394 Morgan Hoffmann rallied for a 3-under-par 32-35=67 in today's second round of The Honda Classic to reach halftime on 5-under 135, up 17 places to T7 with play still in progress. The Jupiter, Florida, resident kicked off his fourth appearance with a four-birdie two-bogey 68, the first sub-par lap he's posted in R1 at PGA National. Significantly better than his previous first-round efforts that averaged 75.33. The 27-year-old undid all his good work with triple bogey-7 at the 11th, where he took three swats out of the water (from 33'5" away) to reach the surface. Past that however, he closed out his first half with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 (from 12'2"), and turned even with birdie-4 at 18. The New Jersey native outpaced bogey-5 at six with circles at 2, 3, 5 and 8 the rest of the way.
Willy Wilcox WDs from The Honda Classic 02-24-2017
Willy Wilcox
Willy Wilcox opened his week at The Honda Classic with a 6-over-par 37-39=76 before withdrawing ahead of his second round tee time. No injury was cited at the time of the WD. Wilcox missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in his first of three starts on a medical extension. He's down to one start on that Minor Medical Extension after today's WD. Wilcox needs $41,049 or 55.399 FedExCup Points in his next PGA TOUR start to retain his TOUR card. The 30-year-old finished T5 on the Tour last week (Panama Claro Championship) so his game is not too far off. In his opening lap this week he circled one birdie but also swallowed three bogeys and a pair of doubles. Wilcox is very good at passing along information directly to his fans via Twitter so we will update if any more news pops up about a potential injury.
Matt Every WDs prior to R2 of Honda Classic 02-24-2017
Matt Every
Prior to his round two tee time, Matt Every has withdrawn from The Honda Classic. No injury was cited, but he was 14-over after day one. If there was anytime for the Florida Gator to break out of his slump, you'd expect it to happen in his home state. This wasn't the week, though, as he swallowed seven bogeys, two doubles, and a triple in round one while taking on PGA National's Champion Course. This goes in the books as his 16th straight missed cut and gamers can continue to avoid Every until he shows any sign of form.
Fichardt hoists up halfway target in Joburg 02-24-2017
Darren Fichardt
Darren Fichardt posted a 6-under-par 31-35=66 in round two of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in South Africa, good enough for the early 36-hole clubhouse lead of 11-under 132. The local man was one of 98 players who had to complete their opening rounds on Friday morning after play was suspended Thursday afternoon due to waterlogging. After a further delay, Fichardt finished off a bogey-free 66 on the par-71 West Course and then matched that score on the tougher, par-72 East. The 41-year-old kicked off with a five-foot birdie at No. 1 and then ticked 3, 4 and 6 before taking the lead on his own with an eagle-3 at 8. He made his first bogey of the week at 10 and, after seven pars, made his 24th hole of the day a birdie-4 to set the clubhouse target. That's currently a shot clear of compatriot Jacques Kruyswijk and two in front of defending champion Haydn Porteous.
Drysdale shines again in SA; T3 after R1 64 02-24-2017
David Drysdale
David Drysdale enjoyed another good day at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, completing a bogey-free 7-under-par 33-31=64 to end round one of the weather-delayed Joburg Open in T3. That's just two swings adrift of leader Paul Peterson. The Scot has a real love affair with South Africa and this event in particular. He secured top three finishes here in 2012 and 2009 and also cracked the top 15 in 2011 and 2013. Earlier this season, he was T11 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and T7 in the South African Open so the World No. 312 was definitely a sleeper pick this week based on course and country form. In his opening lap at the easier West Course he secured his first birdie at 6 and then ticked three straight at 8, 9 and 10. Drysdale picked up further shots at 13, 15 and 17 and then enjoyed a quick break before dashing to the East Course to start his second round.