5:57 On the 194-yard par-3 17th, Arnie's grandkid Sam Saunders hits a solid 6-iron to the left-center of the green. A safe, smart shot. 5:52 Saunders knocks a snuggly chip to a couple feet on no. 16, all but assuring his par. He'll stay at 3-under. Not bad for the recipient of a sponsor's exemption. 5:47 From 159 yards out on the par-4 16th, Saunders draws an iron — safely away from the water — left of the green. He'll need to get up and down to save par, though. 5:42 You know what, I retract(ish) my earlier criticism of Anthony Kim's personality. This made me laugh. From Mahoney, the hardest working man in golf journalism: Asked Kim recently how he feels about his reputation as a party animal. "There is a time and a place for everything. My mother has been telling me that since I was four. I try to listen to her because she still scares me! 5:40 On 16, Saunders — who made his bogey putt on 15 — finds the fairway on 16, ideal position. 5:38 Tiger update! It's official. No Tiger at Doral next week. The deadline has passed. Tweeteth Mahoney:The CSI team stands down. Tiger probably too scared of a sideways glance from Horatio. 5:35 Saunders misses left. "Very stabby," Dottie says of the stroke. He has three feet for bogey. 5:33 Saunders hits a nice bunker shot on 15 but will have 8 slick feet to save his par, and stay at 4-under. 5:32 More dirt on McDowell, from friend o' blog and Euro expert Paul Mahoney: If he should win the Masters, Graeme McDowell told me recently what he would serve up for his champion's dinner… "I’m thinking about an Ulster Fry. Eggs, sausages, black pudding, soda bread. A good golfer’s breakfast with a few fries on the side. And a pint of Guinness for a welcome drink!" Oh yes indeed. Can he get us a few guest passes? 5:29 Call off the Amber Alert. Justin Leonard is alive and well and going to make the cut, at plus-2. 5:27 Things are getting very interesting. Sam Saunders — Arnie Jr. Jr. — just made a 23-foot birdie putt on 14 to get to 4-under, 4 off the lead. I'm thinking they're spiking their Arnold Palmers at Bay Hill with a splash of Ketel-One. (Hey, if they're not, I am.) 5:23 After gagging a 5-foot birdie putt on 16, Veej buries a 65-footer on 17, for birdie. The place goes nuts! But Veej doesn't. You sourpuss… smile! Show us your teeth. You're 7-under! Sheesh… Who's your mental-game coach, Sylvia Plath? 5:18 Anthony Kim's post-round interview. "Blah blah blah, my injured thumb, blah blah, fire at flags, blah blah blah, one hole at a time…" Then I dozed off. Are all these guys trained in the fine art of saying nothing? I think Paul Goydos should start media-coaching Tour pros in how to show some personality. 5:13 After a nice chip, Kim will tap in for his par on no. 9 (his 18th), for a share of the lead at 8-under. 5:12 On his two-shot penalty on 18, turning a 65 into a 67, McDowell tells Dottie Pepper: "I'm glad it's Friday. Sunday would hurt a lot more. I've got a couple days to make up for it." 5:10 The cut line is looking like +3 right now, but it could get to +4. 5:08 Props to McDowell for a heck of a splash out of the bog on 18. He got the ball out nicely. A game effort. Meanwhile, Kim will have to chip in on his 18th hole of the day — he's on no. 9 — if he's going to make birdie and take the lead entering the weekend. It's much more likely that he and fellow Young Gun Camilo will be paired up tomorrow. 5:04 McDowell's two-shot goof in the water on no. 18 is not official yet, but it's crystal clear. He's in the replay booth now taking a look at the video. "Clearly the club was touching," Brandel says of McDowell's watery backswing. 4:58 Kim ties Camilo for the lead, dropping an 8-footer on no. 8 for birdie. The co-leaders are at 8-under. 4:57 What happened to McDowell: His tee ball was half-submerged in the water hazard on no. 18. He took a splashy swipe at it for his second shot, but as he took the club back, it grazed the surface of the pond and clearly creating some ripples, a clear infraction in a hazard. McDowell called the penalty on himself. It will cost him 2 shots. "A silly mistake," Chamblee said. 4:51 Two-shot penalty for McDowell on no. 18, incurred in the hazard! 4:48 Sam brushes in his par putt. No stress. He stays at 3-under. Rocco sighting! He drops a looooong putt on the par-3 5th, to reach 2-under. Long time no see, Mr. Mediate. 4:46 Saunders badly misses a 12-footer for birdie on 12, pulling it left. He'll have a 3-footer to save par. 4:44 Over at no. 7, Kim — after a bad tee shot on the par-3 — chips in for birdie from a good 30 yards. (His ball was truckin'. He dang near dented the flagstick.) He's back to 7-under. 4:41 I emailed Alan. We made a friendly Weir wager. I say Weir wins on Tour this year (I love me a guy who hits fairways and can putt). Alan says, "No way." (Or, "No Eh!") Loser buys the winner a case of Molson and one of them fuzzy hats. And I like my chances. I think this bet is over faster than Jessica Simpson's acting career.
But maybe I'm nuts. What do you guys think? Is Weir washed up — a bunter in a bomber's world – or will he win again? 4:36 Back to Weir. I'm a huge — or as we say here in New York, yuge— and longtime fan of Mr. Shipnuck. But I disagree with his take on Weirsy. Alan writes, "I guess there's a chance he can still figure things out" but "I'm afraid his time has passed." Time has passed? True, he hasn't won since '07, but even with all his swing demons, he's pocketed over $5 million total over the last two years, staying in the top 40 on the money list. He's short off the tee, but no shorter than Furyk. Washed up? He shot a 64 today and a 61 late last year. So…
Saunders will tap in for a ho-hum par on no. 11, to stay at 3-under. "Very quietly becoming a pretty big story here," Chamblee aptly points out. 4:26 Speaking of never winning again, my colleague Alan Shipnuck over at Sports Illustrated has taken a stand: Mike Weir has won his last Tour event. Check out his mailbag. 4:23 Dang. Rich Lerner just pointed out that Ernie's only had one win in the last five years on Tour, here at the Honda in '08. Will he ever win again? 4:19 Safety first. Westwood finds the middle of the green on the par-3 17th. 4:16 Anthony Kim misreads his birdie putt to tie the lead. He'll stay one behind Camilo. Sam Saunders taps in for his birdie on 10. How about that? Arnie Jr. Jr. is on the leaderboard, at 3-under. 4:13 Arnie's grand-tyke Sam Saunders' second shot on the par-4 10th, from 185, stops within 3 feet of the pin. He should get to 3-under. Right now at the Bay Hill bar, Arnold Palmers are on the house. 4:08 Some dirt from Mahoney, who recently asked Camilo who his golf role model is. Not Tiger. Not Seve. Not Phil. Writes Mahoney: Jim 'Octopus Falling Out Of A Tree' Furyk. Who'd have thunk it? Camilo said, "He works hard and has a good family. If I can be seen like that, whether I win five tournaments or 10, or one major or 10, that will be pretty gratifying." 4:05 Here comes A.K.! With back-to-back birdies, Kim is now only one behind Camilo. 4:02 McDowell taps in for a smooove par on 15, to stay one behind Camilo. Oh, I forgot! For some good golf dirt, check out the Twitter pageof Golf Mag contributor Paul Mahoney, who covers the Euros. 3:56 Uh-oh. My screen just went blank. I had no idea Breed was so powerful. I take it back! 3:53 Dear, anyone. Please taser Michael Breed. Thanks! Also: Veej taps in for par on no. 11 to remain 4-under. It was an ugly pulled putt for birdie, but he's actually been rolling it well today. 3:50 Bad news, though: I hear that in the final episode, Big John picks Vienna. Will you never learn??! 3:49 Hey, did you guys watch the new Daly reality show this week, on Golf Channel? Unlike JD's game, it didn't suck. There was a great line from one of his buddies, about how a poorer, skinnier J.D. will have to change the lyrics to one of his songs to "All my exes wear Timexes." I'm definitely watching episode 2 next week. 3:46 Dunk! Woody Austin's tee shot on no. 15 just joined Luca Brasi at the bottom of the pond. 3:45 Weir, in a post-round interview: "Maybe there's a little adrenaline from [the Canadian gold-medal hockey team.]" I'll say. He birdied FIVE par-4s today en route to a 64, if my math is correct, and only averaged 242 off the tee… about 50 yards behind the Camilos of the world. 3:43 Brilliant idea re: the watery par-3 15th: Make an ace and win a new Honda. Find the water and win a new Toyota. (You're welcome, Honda marketing department.) 3:40 McDowell drops a 10-footer for par on 13, to remain 6-under, 2 behind leader Camilo. His 26th straight bogey-free hole. 3:37 Ted Purdy taps in for par on 16, to stay at 3-under. Who needs Tiger Woods when the Tour has charismatic players like Ted Purdy to carry the load? (Purdy Fever — catch it!) 3:34 Rocha is about to double-bogey 17, for a bogey, double, double stretch through the Bear Trap, of holes 15-17. He'll plummet to 2-over, with a hole to play. 3:32 George McNeill, from 114 yards on the par-3 15th, knocks his tee shot to 18 feet or so. 3:28 Could be, but here's what I like about Saunders. He once turned down an invite to Bay Hill — personally extended to him by Arnie — because he hadn't, in his mind, earned it. "I wasn't playing up to my level, and I just decided that I didn't belong, that I shouldn't get in just because Arnold Palmer is my grandfather," he told me." You gotta respect that. 3:24 Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans just suggested that Gary Koch's TV comment minutes ago on Arnie's grandkid — "He swings the club better than he plays" — sounds like a dig against Saunders for benefiting from his famous name. 3:20 Arnie! Err, I mean, Sammy! Saunders drains his par putt on no. 7. Meanwhile, Rocha makes a purty 12-footer for an ugly double-bogey on 16, to drop down to even-par. 3:19 Saunders hit a nice bunker shot on 7, but still faces about 10 feet to save par. Meanwhile, Rocha's making a mess of 16, hitting his 4th shot into the hazard, though apparently it's still playable. 3:17 I interviewed Sam last year. He's exactly what you want Arnie's grandson to be: polite, honest, friendly, not a hint of ego. I asked him what the best advice his grand-pap ever offered. "When I was 7 or 8, he showed me how to grip the club, just like his dad showed him," Sam told me. "He said, 'No matter what you do, never change this grip. Ever.' And I haven't." 3:15 Sam Saunders, Arnie's grandson (!), is in the field and playing well. Though he pushed his tee shot on the par-3 seventh and will have to grind to make a par, to stay at 2-under. 3:12 Feel-good story Rocha — a Monday qualifier — just dumped his second shot in the water on no. 16. The Bear Trap claims another victim. 3:09 Ouch! The 450-yard par-4 11th went all Naomi Campbell on the field yesterday, to the tune of a 4.517 scoring average, and just 13 birdies to 56 bogeys (or worse.) 3:06 Westwood, who Chamblee boldly called the best player not to win a major, just made back-to-back double bogeys, on the brutal 11th. 3:02 Weir alert, eh! The Little Big Man shot a course-record tying 64 today, thanks to draining more than 170 flippin' feet of putts. 2:59 Hey, Golf.commies. Welcome to our live-blog coverage of the Honda Classic, also known as "The 15th Major." (Hey, four of the world's top 10 ain't bad, right?) I'm here with you all dang day. Fire off any questions/comments/epithets below, and we'll talk us some golf. Let's do it.