Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor leads PGA Tour event after 36 holes | Golf
Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor leads halfway through the Honda Classic, a PGA Tour event in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Delighted to be 5-under par at the midway point of the windy Honda Classic, Rory Sabbatini predicted the score would be enough to win the PGA Tour event.
A few hours later, his lead was gone.
Gusts of more than 20 mph abated, and Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor took advantage with his late tee time Friday — shooting a 4-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Sabbatini.
Stanley, seeking his first PGA Tour title, was at 6-under 134. Sabbatini shot a 64, matching the tournament's best round since it moved to PGA National in 2007.
Charl Schwartzel was third at 3 under after shooting a 69.
Ricky Barnes (68), Jerry Kelly (67), Stuart Appleby (70) and Tommy Gainey (67) were at 2 under.
Alex Prugh (71), a former Washington Huskies player from Spokane, was tied for 52nd place at 5 over.
Players with 36-hole scores of 147 and worse missed the cut, a group that included Michael Putnam (75-73 — 148) of University Place.
Stanley had six birdies, including three in a row, to offset two bogeys. He was 1 under on holes 15 through 17, a daunting stretch known as the Bear Trap.
"The wind probably wasn't as strong as it was Thursday," Stanley said. "Late in my round, it wasn't really a factor."
The 23-year-old Stanley, who played at Clemson, had a career-best 13th-place finish last weekend in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. He has played in 18 PGA Tour events and made 12 cuts in his career.
"I feel like I've been playing well all year but haven't quite put four good rounds together," Stanley said. "I'm getting better, and that's the main thing."
Stanley was the college roommate of Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson.
Not that Stanley phones Hall of Famer Palmer for advice.
"I've played in his tournament a couple of times, I think in '07 and maybe '08. So I've met him a few times," Stanley said. "I remember the first time I saw him, I was on the putting green and I kind of looked up and he was right there, so that kind of caught me off guard a little bit. Yeah, he's a nice guy."
Among those five shots behind at 1 under were Lee Westwood, who fell to No. 2 in the rankings this week behind Martin Kaymer, and first-round leader Spencer Levin. Westwood shot a 69, and Levin had a 72.
Matt Kuchar's Tour-best streak of 153 consecutive holes without a three-putt ended. He shot a 70 and was also at 1 under. He won the tournament in 2002.
Scores improved in the second round to an average of 72.3, compared with 73.9 in the opening round.
"It was much tougher Thursday morning than it was this afternoon," Kelly said. "On Thursday, you couldn't hear anything. It was like a freight train coming through."
The wind was still stout Friday morning, though. Defending champion Camilo Villegas missed the cut, shooting a 78 that put him at 17 over. Mike Weir had four double bogeys and a triple bogey en route to a career-worst 85, leaving him at 22 over.
For much of the day, there was a sense the course was winning.
"Who's on the leaderboard?" Kelly said. "This course could care less."
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