PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — PGA Tour rookie Luke Guthrie, a former Illini, and Michael Thompson survived the chilly, blustery conditions and shared the lead Saturday in the Honda Classic.
With wind making the course play longer and the water look even more daunting, Guthrie held on for a 1-over-par 71 in his first time playing in the last group on tour. The 22-year-old from Illinois closed with eight good pars. Thompson narrowly missed a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole for a 70.
They were at 8-under 202 and had to buckle down for what figures to be a wide-open final round.
Lee Westwood chipped for an unlikely birdie on the 14th hole, made a 20-foot birdie on the 17th and salvaged a par despite hitting 3-wood into the water on the final hole for a 70 that left him only 2 shots behind. Former Illini D.A. Points (77) was at 215.
Instead of the No. 1 player at the top of the leaderboard, there is a pair of players who have never won on the PGA Tour, two players who realized that a victory Sunday would get them into the Masters. Thompson hasn't been to Augusta National since 2008 as a U.S. Amateur finalist.
It might help that the expectations will hang on those behind them.
"You definitely see the names," Guthrie said. "I would like to see them all up there, and hopefully, right behind me. You want to compete, you want to play against the best and lay it all on the line tomorrow on the back nine. Hopefully, they're all there and we're battling."