Golf | Honda Classic

Michael Thompson set to defend Honda Classic golf title


Special to the Miami Herald

Few people know it, but 2013 Honda Classic winner Michael Thompson came pretty close to losing the tournament and the $1,080,000 check that comes with it a year ago.

Thompson likes to change his golf ball every three holes or so. So, early in the final round, his caddie went to get him a new ball. The caddie reached in the bag and pulled out a new ball. Just one problem.

“He mistakenly went into the bag of Luke to get the new ball,” Thompson said of playing partner Luke Guthrie. “If I had hit it, that would have been a two-stroke penalty.”

The mistake was caught, and Thompson went on to win the tournament by two strokes over Geoff Ogilvy.

Thompson is returning to the Honda this year to defend his title.

It won’t be easy, and he knows it. That’s how strong the field is.

The top eight players in the world — including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, to name just a few — will be playing in the Feb. 27-March 2 event at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens.

The field, in terms of player rankings, is the best in the history of the tournament.

Up and coming

Keep an eye on these kids.

Jamie Freedman of Miami shot a final round of 2-under-par 70 to pull away and handily win the girls’ 15-19 division of the Future Collegians World Tour event at Heron Bay in Coral Springs this past weekend. Michelle Ruiz of Canada finished second.

In a dramatic finish for the boys’ 15-19 division, Phillip Barbaree of Shreveport, La., fired a final-round 3-under-par 69 to force a playoff with Fort Lauderdale’s Jordan Gumberg, who shot a 67 on Saturday. The first playoff hole was a tie with birdies, the second was a tie with pars, and Barbaree won the title on the third playoff hole with a par.

Svensson soars

Barry University sophomore Adam Svensson broke the school’s all-time record for a low round Monday. Svensson, who has been dominant all season, shot an 8-under 64 in the second round of the Matlock Collegiate Classic in Lakeland.

In the first round, Svensson had a 71 and finished up with a 70 on Tuesday to win the individual championship with an 11-under 205 total.

But that wasn’t good enough to give the Bucs, ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division II, the team title. Lynn University had a 12-under 852 total to top Barry.

Barry will next play in the St. Edward’s Invitational at Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin, March 3-4.

That’s a fact, Jack

The Masters, because of World War II, was not played from 1943 through 1945. What became of the course during that time period? Turkeys and cattle were raised on the grounds. When the tournament returned in 1946, Herman Keiser won his only major championship, defeating Ben Hogan by one shot.

Hope for Haiti

The fifth annual Hope for Haiti tournament will be held April 11 at Miccosukee Golf and Country Club.

The tournament has a $150 entry fee and raises funds for relief, particularly for children, in Haiti.

Call Mike Simmons at 786-247-8215 to register or for more information.l

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