Martin Kaymer continued his assault on the course at TPC Sawgrass, leading The Players Championship after two rounds with a score of 12 under.
The former No. 1 player in the world could not quite replicate his 63 from Round 1, but he earned a 69 in the second round to hold a slight lead after 36 holes. However, Jordan Spieth remains right on his tail after firing a 66 in Round 2, remaining bogey free through two rounds.
There is a bit of a gap after the top two, but other players like Russell Henley and Jim Furyk remain in contention. On the other hand, the course was not as kind to Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut after finishing one stroke over par for the tournament.
Here is an updated look at the leaderboard heading into the weekend:
After earning seven birdies on the front nine in Round 1, Kaymer came back to earth at the start of Friday's play. However, he still managed two birdies to go with just one bogey due to a three-putt on No. 7.
Still, he was extremely accurate with his irons and wedges to put the ball close to the pin on almost every hole. Here are some of his better shots on the day:
While anyone would be confident after a start like this, Kaymer is aware that he still has work to do:
This focus is certain to help him out as he looks to win his first official tournament since the 2010 PGA Championship.
Of course, Kaymer will have plenty of competition over the next two days. Spieth was spectacular yet again, carding a 66 to move just one stroke off the lead at 11 under. Kieran Clark of eDraft.com breaks down the first two rounds from the 20-year-old star:
Brilliant 36-holes from Jordan Spieth. 67-66, with not a single bogey recorded. He impresses at seemingly every opportunity. #PGATour— Kieran Clark (@KieranClarkGolf) May 9, 2014
His approach on No. 14 to get a birdie summed up his day well:
Despite his young age, Spieth is showing that he will be a top contender in pretty much every tournament and that no stage is too big. This is bad news for Kaymer looking to hold onto his lead.
Geoff Ogilvy appeared ready to make a move on Friday with an incredible start. He moved to five under in his first 14 holes, thanks in part to an eagle on No. 2:
The problem was that he fell apart down the stretch with three bogeys in a row and ended with a 70, which put him at five under for the tournament.
Many others remain in contention following the first 36 holes, and really anyone that made the cut should feel confident in their ability to come back in this tournament. Here is a complete look at those who made the cut of even par:
|T25||Bo Van Pelt||-3|
|T52||Brendon de Jonge||-1|
Obviously, this was not a great course for everyone. Quite a few big names were on the other side of the cut and will end their week early.
Arguably the biggest star going home is Phil Mickelson, who scored a 70 on Day 2 but was unable to make up for his Round 1 showing of 75. He needed to be more aggressive on Friday, but he settled for just one stroke over par overall.
Rory McIlroy barely saved himself with a fantastic back nine to get back to even. Ron Sirak of Golf Digest notes the poor start:
This just in: McIlroy turns in 42 at @THEPLAYERSChamp That'll hurt his chances...— Ron Sirak (@ronsirak) May 9, 2014
It might have hurt his chances to win the tournament, but he notched four birdies down the stretch to stick in the tournament.
Adam Scott was also able to get on the right side of the cut list as he followed up a 77 with a 67 in Round 2. He totaled seven birdies on the day and now has a lot of momentum heading into the next two rounds.
Scott is one of many players capable of coming from the middle of the pack and challenge Kaymer at the top of the leaderboard. All we know at this point is that there is a lot still to be decided at TPC Sawgrass.
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