Honda Classic 2013: Surprise Contenders Through the Second Round

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 01: Michael Thompson of USA plays a bunker shot 18th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic on March 1, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The 2013 Honda Classic has been full of surprises. Defending champion Rory McIlroy has called it quits and Tiger Woods barely made the cut after failing to even break par through the tournament's first two rounds.

However, the misfortune of golf's biggest names has paved the way for a field of surprise contenders to make a statement. Whether or not they can finish what they've started will be one of the most intriguing storylines of the weekend.

While Woods and McIlroy made headlines for their struggles, these players have stepped up to enter the weekend with a real chance to earn a huge tournament win.


Luke Guthrie

If you're looking for surprise contenders, you needn't look any further than the top of the leaderboard.

Luke Guthrie has come out of nowhere to seize the top spot. After shooting a pedestrian 68 on the tournament's opening day he came out on fire on Day 2 with a 63.

The 23-year-old has missed the cut in two of the six PGA Tour events he's played in this year and has  has not finished in the top 20 of any tournament. In 2012 he only played in four events and missed the cut in one.

If Guthrie can find a way to hold his lead throughout the weekend it'll easily be the best performance of his career. 


Michael Thompson

No one should be as relieved to be playing in Round 3 as Michael Thompson. 

Thompson has made an appearance in four PGA Tour events in 2013 prior to the Honda Classic and he made the cut just once.

Thompson not only made the cut, he's in second place on the leaderboard at eight below par thanks to his 65 on Day 2. 

To date, Thompson has made a little over $10,000 this season. This weekend he'll be competing for the $1,026,000 prize that goes to the winner. How's that for a pleasant surprise?


Doug LaBelle II

LaBelle is another player that we just aren't used to seeing at the top of a PGA leaderboard. 

The 38-year-old has spent plenty of time playing professionally, but is still a relative neophyte on the PGA Tour. He's made four appearance so far this season and hasn't finished any higher than 30 in any of them. 

He currently sits at six-below par and has the opportunity to contend deep into the weekend at T-5 on the leaderboard. 

LaBelle is just one of many players who could really make a name for himself in a highly intriguing Honda Classic.