Golf: Thompson wins Honda for 1st tour title

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013 12:13 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
Michael Thompson watches his shot after teeing off the No. 4 during the final round of the Honda Classic on Sunday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He won for his first Tour title.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – On a long, hard day at the Honda Classic, Michael Thompson relied on a superb short game to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Thompson seized control early with a 50-foot eagle putt on the third hole, then kept his distance with clutch par saves and closed with a birdie from the bunker. It gave him a 1-under 69 – one of only five rounds under par at PGA National – and a two-shot win over Geoff Ogilvy.

“This week was magical,” Thompson said. “Just had a groove and kept feeling it.”

It was a big week for Ogilvy, too.

The former U.S. Open champion had plunged to No. 79 in the world ranking and already missed the Match Play Championship. He was prepared for another week off next week until putting together four solid rounds.

He chipped in from behind the 16th green for birdie and two-putted for birdie on the 18th for a 69. The runner-up finish moves him into the top 50 (No. 47) and gets him into the World Golf Championship at Doral.

Quincy native Luke Guthrie, tied with Thompson for the 54-hole lead, fell behind with a bogey on the second hole and closed with a 73 to finish third.

Tiger Woods was never in the picture. He closed with a 74 – his first time since the Masters last year that he failed to break par in any round of a 72-hole tournament – and tied for 37th.

It was the second straight year Woods closed with an eagle at PGA National – the difference was last year, it gave him a 62 and a tie for second.

“I think I passed 62 somewhere around 12,” Woods said.

Thompson, who finished at 9-under 271, had made only one cut this year and finished at the bottom of the pack. He was solid from the start Sunday on another windswept day in south Florida, one of only three players who shot par or better all four rounds.

“You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive,” Ogilvy said of Thompson’s final round. “It’s a great effort, really. As you say by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere.

“There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament – or easier – but this is not one of them.”

Thompson dropped only one shot on the back nine, a three-putt on the 16th when he missed from just inside 3 feet. He rattled another short par putt in on the 17th, and then played away from the water on his second shot at the par-5 18th, into a bunker. Once his ball stopped rolling 4 feet from the cup, the tournament was over.

The win moves Thompson to No. 45 in the world and gets him into his first World Golf Championship next week.

“This is everything,” Thompson said. “This is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words. The whole day was awesome.”

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