Friday, March 06, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Honestly: Illini hit the homestretch 8-4

Allenby leads, Compton contending at Honda

Send a link to a friend

[March 06, 2009]  PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- Robert Allenby has contended at the Honda Classic each of the last two years, so it's no surprise for him to be atop the leaderboard at PGA National.

DonutsErik Compton's day, however, was far from expected.

Allenby shot a 4-under 66 Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the opening round at PGA National, surviving a day when the wind blew flags straight and the only solace for players was receptive greens. He had a tap-in on the par-4 ninth -- his final hole -- to break away from what was an eight-way tie for the lead.

Allenby missed a 2 1/2-footer on the previous hole, so he left nothing to chance on the last, hitting a 6-iron to 6 inches.

"I just sort of played within myself, took one or two clubs more when it was into the wind, tried not to force it and just tried to feel my way around the golf course," said Allenby, who lives just a couple miles from PGA National and finished tied for fourth and tied for fifth in the last two years there.

By the time darkness suspended play, six players -- Charlie Wi, Jeff Overton, Angel Cabrera, Stewart Cink, Will Mackenzie and Sergio Garcia -- all were one shot behind Allenby.


But the big story was Compton, the South Florida native who underwent heart-transplant surgery for the second time last year.

He made a triple-bogey on his second hole, which would have deflated some. Compton, however, said it was the kickstart he needed.

With his nearly 2-week-old newborn getting pushed along in a stroller, Compton birdied three straight holes after making the turn and got to 1 under when play was stopped in his second PGA Tour event since the lifesaving procedure.

He'll return Friday morning, trying to get up and down from 30 yards at the par-4 8th.

"I'd rather sleep on being 1 under than hitting a (crap) tee shot, then hitting a chip shot when I can't see the grain and couldn't see what's going on," Compton said. "I'm only three back. I played really well despite having a triple."

A foursome of players, including Chris Riley, shot 68s to be two off Allenby's lead.

And then there was Mathias Gronberg, who endured whatever the opposite of a feel-good story is.

Gronberg was 1 over through six holes, a fairly nondescript beginning. The last 12 holes, well, they were ones that he'll likely never forget.

Put it this way: He didn't even manage to play bogey golf.

Gronberg had three triple-bogeys in a four-hole span on the back side, became the first player to shoot 50 over nine holes since Phil Tataurangi at Greensboro nine years ago -- excluding Billy Casper, whose 106 in the first round at the 2005 Masters officially went into the books as a WD because he didn't turn in the card.

Gronberg saved par at the 18th to shoot a staggering 89, 19 over par -- the 31st time this year someone has failed to break 80 in a PGA Tour round, and two shots worse than Robert Floyd's 87 in the third round at Pebble Beach. Floyd shot 80-80-87 that week.

"That's a record for me," Gronberg said.

[to top of second column]


Cink was coming off a third-place finish last week at Match Play, his first tournament after a three-week layoff after missing the cut at the FBR Open. He took the break to recharge, some practice here, some skiing there, and his game seemed a bit sweeter to him on Thursday.

"It's the kind of course where you are going to be thrown some curves and you need to adapt and roll with the punches, so to speak," Cink said. "And that's what I was able to do today out there."

He played 111 holes last week at Match Play, had some flight delays going through Atlanta because of terrible weather that hit the East coast, and was so exhausted Wednesday morning that he didn't even want to get out of bed.

"I was really tired. That's when it hit me," said Cink, whose last time at PGA National was as a junior, when Chris Couch won a tournament that featured someone named Tiger Woods. "But I got a good rest and now, you know, the adrenaline kicks in. Here we are."

Defending champion Ernie Els shot 73, as did Camilo Villegas, Davis Love III and Rocco Mediate, among others.

Notes: Play was called at 6:30 p.m. with nine players still on the course. ... Former PGA champion Shaun Micheel, who has a therapeutic-use exemption through the 2010 season for transdermal testosterone gel -- he was diagnosed with low testosterone four years ago -- shot even-par 70 in his first round of the year. He's coming off shoulder surgery. ... Replete with rain gear just in case, Woody Austin took two swings to free his ball from the waterside muck at the par-3 17th. No reprise of the 2007 "Aquaman" scene at the Presidents Cup when he fell into the water, though: Austin stayed dry and saved double bogey.

[Associated Press; By TIM REYNOLDS]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor