Golf

Brendan Steele, Patrick Reed setting pace at rainy Honda Classic

AP

For Brendan Steele, it was an extremely short work day, and he made the most of it.

For Patrick Reed, it was an extremely long work day, and he also made the most of it.

The result: Steele and Reed are atop the leaderboard in the rain-plagued Honda Classic on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa.

Steele got in only four holes of his second round Friday and birdied all four of them to check in at 8-under-par when darkness halted play. Reed got in all 18 of his holes and shot a 3-under 67 to reach 6-under.

While Steele spent less than an hour on the course, Reed completed his round, much of it waiting in the clubhouse, in 8 hours 40 minutes as the tournament slogged on through two rain delays totaling 3 hours 44 minutes.

On Saturday, Steele will need to be up early to complete the final 14 holes of his second round. Meanwhile, Reed can sleep in if he so desires.

Once again, both Steele, 31, and Reed, 24, probably will be contending with the weather on Saturday — there’s a 90 percent chance of rain.

Steele could do nothing wrong during his short stint on the course Friday.

Greens softened by the rain made aiming straight-on at the flagstick the way to go. And that’s exactly what Steele did, even though he revealed with a laugh that all his shots weren’t as perfect as the results made them seem.

“I got out there and hit some weird shots, and the ball just kept going in the hole,” Steele said. “I’ll take it. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Steele was asked if he was up to playing a possible 32 holes Saturday.

“I’m definitely ready for 32,” he said. “My fitness is good.”

That said, he apparently had already checked Saturday’s drippy forecast.

“I’m not really expecting that I will have to play 32, though,” Steele said.

Steele started Friday’s round at 5 p.m. and finished his final hole just before 6 p.m.

Of waiting around all day to get on the course, Steele said, “It feels like we ate about six times during the day.”

While Steele was waiting and eating, Reed got to see the weather up close and personal.

“I didn’t know if the day was ever really going to end with the weather and the rain,” Reed said. “It made for a long day.”

Reed’s round started at 7:35 a.m. and ended at 4:15 p.m.

Reed, the winner of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Doral nearly a year ago, got off to a gloomy beginning on the gloomy day when he started his round on the back nine and double-bogeyed the par-4 11th.

After that, the most trouble he had was trying to keep dry, jumping over a few puddles and finding ways to amuse himself during the delays.

In his final 16 holes, Reed recorded five birdies and no bogeys.

Said Reed: “To get off to that rough start with the double on 11 and be able to play bogey-free from there on out, especially with the wind and rain and the stopping and starting, it meant a lot to me.

“It means my game is where it needs to be and hopefully can continue through the weekend.”

Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 1-ranked player, looked like anything but that as he shot a 4-over 74 Friday for a two-day total of 7-over 147 as he missed the cut.

“I felt like I was trying to get something going and couldn’t,” said McIlroy, who played the back nine first. “I felt after the birdie on No. 5 [his 14th hole], I had a chance to at least be here for the weekend, and then two bogeys on 6 and 7 sort of put that thought to bed.”

Then, mad at himself, he added, “I don’t like missing cuts. You want to be playing on the weekend and I’m not there. I’m not going to be playing this weekend, which is … not nice.”

First-round leader Jim Herman only got in three holes Friday, making par on all of them, to end the day in third place at 5-under.

Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington, all experienced players, are tied for fourth place at 4-under. Donald completed his second round, and Poulter and Harrington still need to finish up Saturday morning. Phil Mickelson is at even par with 11 holes left in his second round.

The second round will be finished up starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the third round.

Leaderboard

Player

To Par

Thru

1. Brendan Steele

-8

4

2. Patrick Reed

-6

F

3. Jim Herman

-5

2

4. Luke Donald

-4

F

4. Ian Poulter

-4

8

4. P. Harrington

-4

6

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