2023 Honda Classic leaderboard, scores: Chris Kirk takes lead in final round at PGA National

Chris Kirk hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2015. That long-standing dry spell will have a chance to end Sunday at PGA National as Kirk heads into the final round of the 2023 Honda Classic with a two-shot lead at 13 under. . Despite his inability to break into the winner’s circle for nearly a decade, the 37-year-old is no stranger to final-round nerves on the PGA Tour.

Most recently, Kirk started the weekend at the 2023 Sony Open in command of the individual lead before losing it completely when the first shot of his third round went dead. In the penultimate group on Sunday, Kirk finished T3 at Waialae Country Club before another podium finish the following week at The American Express.

He will look to correct the mistakes of past tournaments in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as Eric Cole at 11-under and Justin Suh at 10-under are chasing the closets.

Those aren’t the only players Kirk has to be weary of as Shane Lowry jokes about 9 under. Highlighted by four birdies in five holes from Nos. 9-13, Lowry’s third-round 5-under 65 put him back in contention. He will be looking for revenge from a year ago when he surrendered the lead to Sepp Straka over the last few holes. Straka is still in the mix at 7 under as he looks to successfully defend his maiden PGA Tour title.

The leader

1. Chris Kirk (-13)

Kirk was there at the end of the 2022 Honda Classic, albeit as a fan. Watching Straka complete his first PGA Tour victory, Kirk will be hoping to lift the trophy this time around. Although it has been eight years since he last won on the PGA Tour, Kirk is just three years removed from winning on the Korn Ferry Tour and will look to beat the Georgia Bulldogs at the Honda Classic.

“We stay together all the time. He is the guy that usually gets us a house,” said Straka. “So, yeah, I’ve known Chris very well for the last couple of years, one of my best friends, and yeah, we spend a lot of time, and he’s been playing great golf for a couple of years now. No one It’s surprising to me, especially around this course…His iron play is outstanding He’s one of the best iron players I’ve played with Bunker play, it’s a little thing, but probably the bunker best I’ve ever played Yeah, when that putter gets hot too, he can keep making them. He’s definitely not afraid of much.”

Other competitors

2. Eric Cole (-11)

3. Justin Suh (-10)

T4. Shane Lowry, Ben Taylor (-9)

T6. Byeong Hun An, Tyler Duncan (-8)

T8. Ben Martin, Sepp Straka, Cameron Percy, Brice Garnett, Ryan Gerard (-7)

It was an over-the-top final to the 2022 Honda Classic and Lowry was a player to experience the benefits and circumstances. A member of the latter group, Lowry erased Daniel Berger’s five-stroke overnight lead in as many holes as he looked set to claim his first title on US soil since 2015.

Straka would eventually make his own run, but Lowry still had a chance to win when he stepped on the tee at the 72nd hole. Running to the tee box from the 17th green because of an impending spill, the Irishman was out of the counter on his closing hole and unable to card a birdie to force a playoff.

“I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow,” Lowry said. “No, look, this golf course, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You just stick in as long as you can. There’s not a lot of holes where you can stand, and you don’t want to get complacent. but take it easy on them. Every hole is a disaster hole, or a lot of holes are a disaster hole. You just have to be very careful and aggressive with your goals and just go out there and give it your best, and if that’s good enough at the end of the day, you hope to be standing here with the trophy.”

Bhatia goes shirtless not once but twice

Everyone has that one friend who likes to take their shirt off completely too much. On Saturday at PGA National, that was Akshay Bhatia. After hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation in Round 2, the 21-year-old struggled to find his rhythm and swing and was forced to play from hazards not once, but twice.

The first instance came on the par-4 6th when his tee shot found the mud lining the water hazard that left the fairway. Able to make par, Bhatia was unlucky nine holes later when his ball took a similar lie. He would have to make two swings to get his ball back into play on the par-3 15th. A double bogey followed and with that Bhatia became yet another victim of the Bear Trap — albeit a slightly milder one.

“I’ve done it before but not twice in a round,” Bhatia said. “Yes, I feel bad, to say the least. Thank God, Presleigh, my girlfriend, gave me a change of clothes, but of course it didn’t matter because I changed — I got mud on my new pants. Yes, it was an interesting one, to say the least.”

Updated 2023 Honda Classic options and options

Pick through Caesars Sportsbook

  • Chris Kirk: 20/21
  • Eric Cole: 9/2
  • Shane Lowry: 13/2
  • Justin Suh: 7-1
  • Ben Taylor: 16-1
  • Byeong Hun An: 22-1
  • Tyler Duncan: 40-1
  • Sepp Straka: 60-1
  • Ben Martin: 80-1

Kirk feels like a strong deal as he leads the field in strokes gained green during the week. His performance on the greens inspires even more confidence as he looks very comfortable with the speed of the putting surfaces through rounds. If Kirk is not, then Taylor is worth a look at 16-1. The 30-year-old played in the final groups at the Houston Open and the Sony Open and acquitted himself well on both occasions.

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