Ponte Vedra Beach - Webb Simpson equalled the TPC Sawgrass course record to
forge a dominant five-shot lead at the Players Championship.
A nine-under 63 saw Simpson create the biggest halfway lead
in the tournament’s history and put the American on course for his first PGA
Tour win in five years.
The 32-year-old was on track to shoot the outright course
record after an eagle on the second and three birdies on the front nine were
followed by six successive birdies on the home straight.
But on the par three 17th, he found the water with his wedge
and ended up with a double bogey, which proved to be the only black mark on his
"Everything is going in," he said.
"You feel like no matter what, you're going to make it,
and I grew up on an easy golf course so it reminded me of being back home,
shooting low numbers.
“But at the same time, you're at the TPC Sawgrass, so you
know that trouble is everywhere, as you guys saw with me on 17."
After becoming the seventh player to shoot 63 on the course,
Simpson moved to 15 under overall and boasts a handsome advantage from the trio
of Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Cantlay and Danny Lee in second. Schwartzel and
Lee both shot 66.
Tiger Woods just managed to make the cut after a 71, but
Rory McIlroy wasn’t so fortunate after a double bogey on 17 saw him crash out.
Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler were also eliminated after the latter recorded
successive double bogeys on 15 and 16.
Leading scores after Friday's second round of the of the US PGA Tour's The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass (USA unless noted, par-72):
129 Webb Simpson 66-63
134 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68-66, Patrick Cantlay 66-68, Danny Lee (NZL) 68-66
135 - Chesson Hadley 66-69, Charles Howell 68-67, Alex Noren (SWE) 66-69
136 - Jason Day (AUS) 69-67, Steve Stricker 67-69, Xander Schauffele 68-68
137 - Jimmy Walker 69-68, Matt Kuchar 66-71, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 68-69, Bryson DeChambeau 70-67, Dustin Johnson 66-71, Adam Scott (AUS) 69-68
138 - Billy Horschel 68-70, Jon Rahm (ESP) 68-70, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-70, Harold Varner 71-67, Brice Garnett 69-69, C.T. Pan (TPE) 68-70, Keegan Bradley 69-69, Rory Sabbatini (SA) 67-71