Harris English, Tom Lewis ride steady play to share of Honda Classic first-round lead

February 27, 2020
Harris English fires a shot during the first round of Honda Classic.

A golf course with a stretch of holes called the Bear Trap is far from soft and cuddly. A golf course with seemingly water at every turn is far from dripping with ease. Add in Thursday’s wind, and PGA National truly requires a unique kind of steadiness.

Which wholly explains why Harris English and Tom Lewis are tied for the first-round lead after 4-under 66s at the Honda Classic.

When Harris chipped in for birdie on the par-4 11, he calmly raised his arm on his way to plucking the ball from the hole. When he sunk a 10-footer on the 18th to give him a share of the lead, more of the same. He made every putt inside 15 feet to help tie his career-low round. And Lewis did not make a single bogey. Steady, indeed.

“I feel really good about my round today,” English said. “I didn’t hit it my best, but I knew it was going to be one of those rounds you’re going to have to grind it out.”

Here’s everything you missed from Thursday’s action in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Harris English and Tom Lewis lead

English, who entered the tournament ranked No. 1 on the PGA Tour in bogey avoidance and second in greens in regulation, was 3-under after three holes thanks to a birdie on the first and an eagle on the third. Lewis, who won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last year, also eagled the third and added birdies on the seventh and 18th.

Five golfers — Zach Johnson, Cameron Tringale, J.T. Poston, Lee Westwood and Brian Stuard — are a shot behind after 67s.

Who’s lurking?

Poston had the most interesting final three shots in his 67. 

He dumped his tee shot on the par-4 ninth into the water, rolled up his pants legs, navigated the hazard and trees to hit his approach to within 17 feet and sunk the birdie.

In all, just 22 players broke par.

What happened with Brooks Koepka?

Brooks Koepka, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 3, made just one bogey. He did make a lot of other interesting scores. 

He triple-bogeyed the par-4 sixth after two penalty strokes. He double-bogeyed the par-4 ninth. And he bogeyed the par-5 18th after hitting his second shot in the water, giving him a 4-over 74, his highest opening round since 2018.  

How did defending champ Keith Mitchell do?  

Keith Mitchell’s victory last year was certainly memorable. His first win on the PGA Tour after 97 tries. A birdie on the 18th hole to defeat world-class players Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler by a stroke. 

Thursday’s first round wasn’t memorable. He double-bogeyed the par-3 fifth after dumping his tee shot in the water and triple-bogeyed the par-4 11th after hitting his approach into the drink, all of which led to a 5-over 75.

What about Tiger?

Tiger Woods’ pursuit of the PGA Tour’s all-time wins record will have to wait at least another week, as he is taking off a second-straight week.

How can I watch Round 2?

You can watch Friday’s action on Golf Channel from 2-6 p.m. ET.

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