By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Luke Guthrie found himself right where he's always wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon.
That was on the back nine of PGA National's Champion course with the chance to win his first PGA Tour event.
Although it didn't happen this week — the Quincy native shot a 3-over 73 to finish at 5-under 275 and in third place at the Honda Classic — the experience and confidence he gained from being in contention and leading a PGA event for the first time can only bolster his blossoming career.
"I played hard and enjoyed every second," Guthrie said.
The tour rookie finished on a strong note, which bodes well heading into the Puerto Rico Open this week.
Needing only a par to finish alone in third, Guthrie attacked the par-5 18th, flirting with the water to the right of the green when his second shot ended up in the frontside bunker. He got up-and-down with a birdie to finish off his highest finish on the PGA Tour to date.
Last year, playing on a sponsor's exemption, Guthrie tied for fifth at the John Deere Classic.
Guthrie earned $408,000, pushing him to 25th on the money list with $621,753 in earnings.
Guthrie also picked up 190 FedEx Cup Points, moving him to 20th in the FedEx Cup standings with 369 points.
The top 125 in points qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs and retain their tour card for 2014.
Last year, 363 points cracked the top 125.
Michael Thompson, who was paired with Guthrie in the final two rounds, won't have to worry about earning his future tour card. He wrapped that up Sunday. Thompson made an eagle on the par-5 third hole and rode the momentum to his first PGA Tour victory.
Thompson finished at 9-under 271 after posting a 1-under 69 in the final round.
He was two strokes ahead of Geoff Ogilvy, the former U.S. Open champion who birdied two of his last three holes to climb ahead of Guthrie.
"This week was magical," Thompson said. "Just had a groove and kept feeling it."
Guthrie held the 36-hole lead and shared the 54-hole lead, but he slipped off the pace with a bogey on the second hole Sunday. He followed up with a birdie on the par-5 third hole, and despite being 2-over through 12 holes, he birdied the 13th hole to pull within two strokes of Thompson.
However, he hooked his tee shot on the 14th hole out of bounds and ended up taking a double bogey that moved him four shots off the pace. A three-putt for a bogey on the 17th hole left him out of contention for second place.