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PGA National is presenting players with one of the most difficult challenges once again this year, as in the past. On Thursday 45-50 degree temperatures with 20 mph winds set scores to a 3 over par average for the 145 players in the field. Today while warming a bit early tee times went off in 50 degree temperatures with once again gusty winds. Add to that the amount of water that comes into play on most holes at PGA National and you have more bogies and doubles out there then pars. While Fowler who played the wind to perfection is leading at -7, other top players in the field did not fair so well.

Sergio Garcia, Jimmy Walker and Michael Thompson also have kept pace. All in all, there are only 20 players under par in the field and 11 are only -1. The projected cut mid day on Friday was +2 and may well push to +3 by day’s end. Only the top 20 players right now are even par are better and the +2 projected cut line is now falling at only the top 50. Keegan Bradley who shot 79 on Thursday said it was one of the toughest rounds he has played in years. His -1 score on Friday will leave him well short of the cut line with best friend John Curran who carded a +8 today for a 2-day total of +10.

Already the toughest layout on the 2016 PGA TOUR schedule (non-major venues) boasting an average per round score of 1.318 over par, the improved Champion now features Celebration Bermuda grass on the fairways, tees and green surrounds. “The Bear Trap” on PGA National Resort & Spa’s The Champion course is an intimidating trifecta of holes – 15, 16 and 17 – known as among the most demanding 3-hole stretches on the PGA TOUR. Winners of the PGA TOUR Honda Classic and U.S. Senior PGA Championships have had to face its perils to come out with victory. How The Bear Trap is played invariably determines the winner of a tournament or even a match between PGA National’s resort guests. “The Bear Trap” was coined in honor of the difficulty and as a tribute to PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus. A plaque and bear statue celebrate what has come to be known as one of the ultimate challenges a golfer can face for three consecutive holes. Play The Bear Trap at your peril. The legend grows every day.

The PGA Tour kicked off its Florida swing this week at the Honda Classic, which is held at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. The Palm Beach area is home to several tour players, as is nearby Jupiter.

Jack Nicklaus resides in North Palm Beach, and with just about every top player in town for the Honda Classic, he decided to host a dinner party — no, a massive dinner party — Thursday night for U.S. Ryder Cup hopefuls. Tiger Woods, who was at Nicklaus’ house, probably won’t make the team given the fact that he’s rehabbing from multiple back surgeries, but he’ll serve as a vice-captain to Davis Love III. Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and several other American golfers were also there.

As evidenced by the group photo, the U.S. Ryder Cup team is in good hands this year. Fowler is playing as well as anyone, and Mickelson continues to chug along at the ripe age of 45.

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