PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Rory McIlroy left before his round was over. Tiger Woods had to rally to stick around.
And with all that drama Friday in the Honda Classic, hardly anyone noticed that Luke Guthrie showed off his potential with a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead going into the weekend at PGA National.
Guthrie, pegged by many of his peers as a rookie worth watching, played bogey-free on another cool, cloudy day.
Of his seven birdies, perhaps the most impressive for the Big Ten champion from Illinois came on the sixth hole when he had mud on the side of his ball and was able to work the shot in from the right to about 10 feet.
Guthrie was at 9-under 131 and had a one-shot lead over Michael Thompson.
McIlroy, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship in his previous two starts, made a double bogey on his second hole and rinsed two balls in the water on the 16th hole on his way to a triple bogey. He was 7-over par through eight holes.
He hit his approach to the 18th in the water and never finished the hole.
He shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was on his way, but not before conflicting messages.
McIlroy told three reporters who followed him to his car that it was nothing physical but that he was “not in a good place mentally.” An hour later, he released a statement through his management company that he couldn’t concentrate because of a sore wisdom tooth.
At Singapore, Stacy Lewis made six birdies to shoot a 6-under 66 and take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the HSBC Women’s Champions. ... At Bogota, Colombia, four players — B.J. Staten, Jim Renner, Bhavik Patel and D.J. Brigman — share the 36-hole lead at the Web.com Tour’s Colombia Championship. ... At Centurion, South Africa, Charl Coetzee of South Africa shot a 7-under 65 to hold the clubhouse lead by a stroke when a thunderstorm halted the second round of the Tshwane Open.