Honda Classic invites up to challenge early at PGA National

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It’s tough to second guess the Honda Classic’s sponsor exemptions.

Tom Lewis and Harris English each posted 4-under-par 66s Friday to grab a share of the first-round lead.

They’re both playing on sponsor invites.

So is Lee Westwood. He shot 67 and is tied for third.

And then there’s Kurt Kitayama. He’s tied for 23rd after posting 70.

“Very appreciate of [executive director] Ken Kennerly and [tournament director] Andrew George,” English said. “I played the Monday pro-am, did a clinic on Tuesday, so I’ve felt like I’ve really been a part of the tournament this week, and it’s been awesome.”

English (66) making most of Honda Classic invite

Honda Classic: Full-field scores | Full coverage

There were eight sponsor exemptions awarded this week, four unrestricted for PGA Tour non-members, two restricted to top finishers from last year’s Korn Ferry Tour finals and two to PGA Tour members.

English was one of the two PGA Tour members, Lewis one of the two Korn Ferry Tour grads, and Westwood one of the four unrestricted exemptions.