Golf

Blayne Barber in position for best career finish at Honda Classic

Blayne Barber
Blayne Barber

The last time Blayne Barber played this well at PGA National Resort & Spa, he was 16 years old.

Barber, who was born in Tallahassee, said he doesn’t remember that tournament, at which he finished second in April 2006. With a solid round Sunday, though, Barber would be unlikely to forget the 2016 Honda Classic.

The 26-year-old heads into Sunday in third place at 5-under-par after a 1-under 69 Saturday and will tee off in the second-to-last pairing. And although the Auburn University alum now considers Alabama to be home, his ties to Florida remain strong.

“It’s always great to play well in front of family and friends in your home state,” Barber said, “but we’re just looking for good weeks whenever you can get them.”

Barber’s previous best on the PGA Tour was an eighth-place finish at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April 2015. He held a share of third place during that tournament, but his final round 2-under par 70 left him five shots back of the winner. He’s made the cut at half of the 10 events he’s played in 2016, but he missed out on the weekend at last week’s Northern Trust Open.

At last year’s Honda Classic, Barber made the cut but finished 58th after he shot a combined 3-over on the weekend to finish at 7-over.

“I’ve stayed patient and really taken my chances when I’ve gotten ’em,” said Barber, who sits four shots back of the lead. “I’ve made some mistakes as well. You’re gonna make them out there, but you kinda just gotta let it come when it happens.”

Five players since 2000 have made the Honda Classic their first career PGA Tour victory, according to the tour. Michael Thompson, who won the event in 2013, was the most recent first-time winner.

BOHN DOING OK

Jason Bohn, 42, is “resting comfortably and in good spirits” after he suffered a mild heart attack on Friday at the Honda Classic, his agent said in a statement.

Bohn complained of chest pain following his 2-over-par 72 on Friday, and he was taken by ambulance to Palm Beach Medical Center, where tests revealed the heart attack.

His agent, Justin Richmond, said Bohn would undergo more tests over the weekend and would remain at the hospital until further notice.

“We know he appreciates the concern from so many people in the PGA Tour family who have reached out,” Richmond said.

Bohn was 3-over after his opening two rounds and would have made the cut.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Adam Scott wasn’t the only player who fell victim to the infamous Bear Trap on the Champion Course on Saturday.

The 15th, 16th and 17th holes, designed by Jack Nicklaus, are among the toughest on the PGA Tour and continued to take their toll on players’ scorecards.

Through the first three days, players carded 141 birdies and 718 pars. The trio of holes still managed to cause plenty of damage with 166 bogeys, 53 double bogeys and seven scores of at least 3-over. Each of the three holes has taken seven shots to finish at least once.

The par-3 15th, where Scott carded a quadruple-bogey 7 Saturday, has played the toughest of the bunch with a .193 above-par average. All three holes have an above-par average.

▪ Justin Thomas is five shots off the lead in fourth place at 4-under afte a 68 Saturday and will be looking for his second career PGA Tour victory. The second-year tour player earned his first win at the CIMB Classic in November.

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