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Honda Classic 2013: Bold Predictions After Tightly Packed Round 1

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 08:  Camilo Villegas of Colombia hits a shot during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Spyglass Hill on February 8, 2013 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2013

Sixty players were under par in the first round of the Honda Classic with surprise leader Camilo Villegas sitting atop at six under. 

This sets up for a wild final three rounds. 

Here is how I see it all playing out. 

 

Villegas Will Fall Short but Impress

Being a sports fan is not the most rational thing.

When Camilo Villegas was the talk of the golf world, as he impressed as a rookie and then notched two wins in 2008, I didn't root for him. It seemed like the hype outweighed his talent, and I could care less about his Spider Man greens reading bit. 

Now, he is a guy trying to beat his inner-swing demons and the fact that he no longer has his Tour card, and I'm rooting like crazy for him.

Anyway, he looked confident and content during and after his spectacular first round, and we know he is comfortable here as he won this event, his last win, in 2010.

However, after such long struggles, he is not going to be able to keep the consistency needed to stay atop the leaderboard, but he will finish in the top ten.

 

Rory McIlroy Will Continue to Struggle

Rory McIlroy's 2013 continues to get off to a slow start as he adjusts to his Nike clubs. He finished at even par for the first round, and he was lucky to walk away with that score. He wouldn't have, had he not performed as well with his short game. 

Rory's swing isn't quite right. His hands are getting away from his body, and his balance on his follow through is not where it used to be. As a result, he is pushing his shots off to the right, and doesn't look comfortable 

He will get this figured out, but not before this tournament ends, and his will end on Friday—when he misses the cut. 

 

Tiger Woods Will Finish in Top 5

Like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods finished the first round at even par. However, there were distinct differences. Woods bogeyed two of the first four holes to sit at two over. The rest of the way, he didn't have another bogey and carded two birdies. 

Woods struggled early with his putter as he hit 21 putts through the first 11 holes and then needed only 11 more for the final seven. Additionally, the putts he was missing were close.  

Woods' accuracy with his driver was slightly off, but he was close there as well, and his short irons are dialed in.

Woods' game was going in the right direction at the close of Round 1, and he will storm up the leaderboard as a result. 

 

Graeme McDowell for the Win!

Graeme McDowell is quickly rounding into form. He didn't play in his first tournament of the year until the Northern Trust Open in mid February. He missed the cut. 

He followed that up with a nice run to the quarterfinals of the Accenture, and he followed that up with a solid opening round 67. 

McDowell is fresh, and he is getting his swing grooved. 

A European player has won this event five straight years. McDowell will make it six. 

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