Golf: Fowler takes lead, McIlroy misses cut at Honda

Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa - Champions Course.
Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa - Champions Course.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI • Flawless Rickie Fowler birdied three of his last seven holes to seize a one-shot lead, while Rory McIlroy ended up missing the cut in the Honda Classic second round at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida.

Fowler, winner of four events worldwide over the past 10 months, fired a four-under 66 on another blustery day at PGA National to post an eight-under total of 132.

The world No. 5 went bogey-free over the first 36 holes, the first player to do so since the event moved to the Champion Course at PGA National in 2007.

"I'm definitely pleased about it," Fowler told Golf Channel after ending his round by sinking a 22-footer to birdie the par-four ninth.

"I felt like I didn't hit it as good as yesterday," added the American, whose strong early-season form included a victory in Abu Dhabi and a play-off loss to Hideki Matsuyama in Phoenix.

"But I hit some really good drives through the middle, through the end of the round, and made a few more putts which was nice."

Fellow American Jimmy Walker finished birdie-eagle to card 66 as well and trail by one shot.

First-round co-leader Sergio Garcia, playing alongside Fowler, returned a 69 to be behind by two.

"I felt like I played quite well. Obviously the course is not getting any easier as the week goes on. The wind was not as much as yesterday but it was still challenging," said Garcia.

However, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course got the better of world No. 3 McIlroy again.

He struggled with his putting and iron play as he strung together a roller-coaster 72 that included a triple-bogey at the fifth, a double at the 15th, four birdies and a bogey.

That left the Northern Irishman, a four-time Major champion, at four-over 144, one stroke outside the cut-line.

Fowler was the only one of four top-10 players to make the cut, with ninth-ranked Patrick Reed and 10th-ranked Branden Grace also missing out on the weekend action.

American golfer Jason Bohn shot a 72 to make the cut (143) but withdrew from the event after experiencing chest pains soon after he putted out on the 18th hole.

The 42-year-old had suffered a mild heart attack during the round and was transported by ambulance to a Palm Beach Gardens hospital for tests.

Bohn, who has two wins on the US Tour, was to remain overnight in stable condition.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 28, 2016, with the headline 'Fowler takes lead, McIlroy misses cut at Honda'. Print Edition | Subscribe