Michael Thompson beat a field that included 18 major golf champions at the Honda Classic to claim his first title on the U.S. PGA Tour.
Thompson, a 27-year-old American, was one of only five players to break par during yesterday’s final round, shooting a 1-under 69 to finish two strokes better than runner-up Geoff Ogilvy of Australia. Thompson ended with a four-round total of 9-under-par 271 at the PGA National Resort’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Thompson, who missed three weekend cuts and tied for 78th place in his four previous PGA Tour events this season, received $1.03 million for his breakthrough win.
“The start of the year wasn’t great for me,” said Thompson, who tied for second at last year’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. “I wasn’t living up to those expectations that I set on myself. I was having thoughts of, ‘I’m going to miss every cut this year. I’m not going to play great at all; I’m going to lose my card and then what?’”
Tiger Woods, who finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy at last year’s Honda Classic after shooting a career-best final-round score of 62, shot a 4-over-par 74 yesterday to finish the tournament at 4-over.
“I passed 62 somewhere on 12,” Woods, who tied for 37th place, told reporters.
McIlroy, the world’s top-ranked golfer, quit the tournament halfway through his second round, complaining of a painful wisdom tooth. He was 7-over par.
Luke Guthrie closed with a 73 to finish third at 5-under par, two shots better than David Lynn, Lucas Glover, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley and Erik Compton. A two-time heart transplant recipient, Compton shot a final-round 70 for his career-best finish on the PGA Tour.
“It’s hard to put it all into words of how special it is, but I’m such a competitive guy and that’s probably why I’m still alive,” Compton, 33, said. “I’m proud of the way I played regardless of the score, I played well enough to win this week. Just got to move forward.”
Two tournaments are scheduled for March 7-10. The top players will move about 83 miles (134 kilometers) south to the Miami area for the $8.75 million Cadillac Championship, the second World Golf Championships event of the season. Thompson and Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion, yesterday both earned spots in the event. The $3.5 million Puerto Rico Open also takes place at the Trump International Golf Club near San Juan.