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Grading the Honda Classic

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Rory McIlroy knows he blew a great opportunity for his seventh PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy knows he blew a great opportunity for his seventh PGA Tour win. (Getty Images)

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In his first 377 career holes at PGA National Rory McIlroy had exactly zero eagles.

On his 378th he needed one of them to win his second Honda Classic in three years and he had a great look.

After a ridiculous 245-yard 5-wood to 11 feet that doubled as probably the shot of the season on the PGA Tour, McIlroy missed his eagle putt on the low side and eventually fell in a four-way playoff to Russell Henley.

It was a strange day for McIlroy (and in general) as he shot a 74 that included five bogeys and a double bogey and that shot on No. 18 that should be in some sort of museum somewhere.

The win would have been McIlroy's seventh on the PGA Tour and would have made him the first golfer since Tiger Woods to win seven PGA Tour events before his 25th birthday.

It was the first time (in five tries) since the 2011 Masters he hadn't closed out a 54-hole lead.

He knew he didn't get the job done at closing time, though. He told NBC he almost felt bad about being in a playoff.

"Even if I had won, it would have felt a little bit undeserved," said McIlroy.

Instead it was Henley who joined McIlroy, Patrick Reed, and Harris English as the only golfers younger than 25 with more than one win on the PGA Tour.

It gets him in the Masters, as well, a tournament he said earlier this week he "thinks about every day."

After his round Henley told NBC his second win (and first on the mainland United States) was surreal.

"I don't know what's going on right now," said Henley. "The crowd today was nothing like I've ever experienced." His personality is as high-strung as his game.

And it's not exactly as if Henley just roasted the course on this bizarre Sunday. His 72 was tied for the 32nd best round on the day but it was enough on a day when PGA National showed its teeth. The four golfers in the playoff were a combined 3 over on the day.

Not exactly the fourth round dart-fest we think of when we see the "these guys are good" commercials. But the drama was enough to satiate a golf fan's appetite until the next great event which happens to be next week at Doral.

Until then, here are our grades for the Honda Classic:

PlayerGradeAnalysis
ARussell Henley dunked his tee shot at the par-3 15th hole and probably thought he was finished. A par-par finish got him in the playoff, though. And a birdie took him home.
AThat 5-wood from Rory McIlroy on No. 18, I just, I don't know when I'll get over it. It was legendary.
ASergio Garcia had a great backdoor top 10 on Sunday with a Round four-best 67. He's another guy who barely made the cut and went 68-67 on the weekend and jumped 34 spots on the final day.
BAdam Scott was steady with nothing over a 70 this week at the Honda Classic. A nice T12 finish from somebody who hadn't played golf in nearly two months.
BAnother solid week for Rickie Fowler. He went 69-69-69-70 and after two straight solid tournaments I think Fowler has a win on the horizon.
CLee Westwood went 68-65 in his first two rounds to get near the top of the leaderboard. Then he went 73-74 on the weekend and stumbled to a T46 finish.
IBizarre week for Tiger Woods. He barely made the cut, shot 65 on Saturday to jump back in the conversation, then withdrew with a bad back on Sunday.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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