You know you’ve hit the Florida Swing when career rounds come undone on one car-crash of a hole. These Florida tracks have water lurking everywhere, abutting the green and fairway on almost every hole and that’s exactly the challenge at the Honda Classic, where unpredictable high winds also throw the players for a loop at PGA National.
Adam Scott evaded all those troubles on Saturday in what was looking like one of the hottest rounds of his career, and certainly in the past couple years. Scott cut through the wind and posted a 5-under 30 on the front nine, rocketing to the top of the leaderboard while 36-hole leaders Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker tumbled. Fowler, who fired back-to-back rounds of 66, never made a birdie on Saturday. Adam Scott made eight, leaving Fowler in the dust as the sun set in the Palm Beach area.
Unfortunately for Scott, sandwiched in between those eight birdies was an ugly, ugggly quadruple bogey. It came at the par-3 15th, the start of the “Bear Trap” that we hear about nonstop at this event. Scott put two in the water there, promptly putting an end to his scorching round and the comfortable multi-shot cushion he had gained at the top of the leaderboard. Scott would add one final red number on the par-3 17th, a nice response on another hole with water lurking on the tee shot at the end of the Bear Trap. A round of 66 that included a quadruple bogey is hard to fathom, and it’s only the second time a player has ever posted an under-par (Scott was 4-under!) round at this course with such an ignominious number on the card.
That last birdie pulled Scott even with Sergio Garcia, who nearly matched the Aussie on the front nine with an outward 31. Sergio has been in control all week and while Fowler would have been the preferable name to promote for NBC on Sunday, the anchor duo of Scott and Garcia is really solid. There’s also the possibility that either could implode at any stretch and come back to the field, bringing Rickie or a guy like Justin Thomas back into it.
With the days getting longer, and no three-hour time difference while trying to deliver a 6 p.m. ET finish, the Tour will send the field out as twosomes and all off No. 1 tee. That’s not been possible on the west coast swing with the shorter days and that time change. Unless there’s a significant weather delay, there should be no issue moving everyone through the final 18, with that final pairing finishing up right around 6 p.m. ET on NBC. Garcia and Scott will go at 1:40 p.m. ET and while neither is the fastest player on the planet, we should be done well before darkness. Here’s the full tee sheet for the final round: