Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world’s top-ranked golfers, trail leader Camilo Villegas by six shots entering the second round of golf’s Honda Classic.
Defending champion McIlroy and Woods finished yesterday’s opening day at level par. Villegas had an eagle on the final hole at the PGA National Champion Course at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to finish at 6-under par, one shot ahead of a group of four players that includes Rickie Fowler. Lee Westwood, Dustin Johnson and Boo Weekley are among 10 players at 4-under.
Villegas has slumped to No. 279 in the Official World Golf Ranking and is relying on invitations from tournament sponsors after losing his place on the U.S. PGA Tour last year. The 31-year-old Colombian missed out on weekend play in 11 of his 28 tournaments since the start of 2012 and hasn’t won since collecting his third PGA Tour title at the 2010 Honda Classic.
“This game is great when you’re playing good,” Villegas told reporters. “When you’re out here missing cut after cut -- I don’t care what people say, yes, we’re blessed to have this job, but it’s not that much fun.”
While Woods expressed his satisfaction at escaping with a par at the sixth hole after playing a shot from a water hazard instead of taking a penalty drop, McIlroy was displeased at dropping a shot at the par-5 18th after his third shot, from 105 yards (96 meters), sailed over the green.
McIlroy said after his round that he’s still adjusting after switching to Nike Inc. equipment from Titleist clubs and balls in January.
“It would have been nice to finish off the round a bit better,” McIlroy told reporters. “I felt like I hit the ball OK; not as good as I can, but it’s getting there.”
McIlroy, 23, became world No. 1 a year ago after winning the Honda Classic by two shots from Woods, who ended the tournament with an 8-under-par 62, the lowest final-round score of his PGA Tour career.