It's still Martin Kaymer's world at the 2014 Players Championship.
The German international went into the clubhouse as leader on Friday for the second time in as many days, after his round of 69 was good enough to hold off Jordan Spieth's hot afternoon and enter Saturday as a one-stroke leader.
Heading into Moving Day, The Players has the potential to become a two- or three-man race down the stretch, with only three golfers within four shots of Kaymer's lead. Just as well, a few bad holes from those leaders could really blow it open for anyone capable of putting together two solid rounds over the weekend.
With one of the biggest non-major tournaments up for grabs, and a number of world-class golfers gunning for the lead, Saturday is sure to feature plenty of exciting action.
Predictions for Day 3
Jordan Spieth Will Take The Lead
After his breakout 2014 thus far, and starting off Round 1 strong, you just knew Jordan Spieth was due for a big Players Championship.
The 20-year-old began Thursday's opening round birdieing four of his first five holes and didn't bogey a single hole on the day, but finished with a round of 67—still four shots back of Kaymer's then seven-under par score.
But he kept up his pace heading into Friday, and it paid off.
Spieth improved his score to a Friday-best 66, when low rounds were less likely than the day before, allowing him to trim his deficit to just one stroke behind Kaymer. Heading into Moving Day, there's no doubt he's headed in the right direction.
And most impressively is that this is his first Players, per Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman:
Spectacularly enough, Spieth has no bogeys on his first 36 holes at The Players. He's proven to be a master of TPC Sawgrass so far, and he showed that his opening round wasn't a fluke by going out with an even better round.
He doesn't have to shoot another 66 to take the lead after three rounds, but at the rate he's playing at, he just might do both.
Jim Furyk Will Emerge in Second Place
Few golfers climbed up the leaderboard more on Friday than Jim Furyk.
The PGA Tour standout and usual contender at major tournaments shot a round of 68, putting his score at six under par through two rounds. He started off strong and peaked into the back nine, racking up five birdies on the day before his only bogey on hole No. 17 spoiled his ending.
In the end, his round of 68 was one of the best of the day and enough to move him from 29th to fourth. It was also a two-stroke improvement from his Thursday round of 70.
Furyk is one of two golfers in the top eight of the leaderboard to improve from Thursday to Friday, which means he will be coming in with as much momentum as anyone heading into Moving Day—crucial for a strong start to the weekend.
If he's able to keep improving, Furyk should be able to post a round worthy of keeping the heat on Spieth, as he will climb even further.
Bad Day for Kaymer
As impressive as Martin Kaymer's round of 63—one that tied course records—to open The Players was, his ability to post another strong round on Friday was similarly remarkable.
The 2010 PGA Championship winner couldn't have possibly one-upped his nine under par score from Thursday, but a round of 69 on Friday gave him a close one-stroke lead over Spieth entering Moving Day.
But if Friday's play was any indication, it won't take long into Saturday before Kaymer is knocked off the top of the board.
While brilliant throughout all of Thursday, Kaymer showed a human side to him in Round 2. He bogeyed a hole on both the front and back nine—something he didn't do once during his opening round.
Kaymer has proven to be on top of TPC Sawgrass this weekend thus far, but putting together four rounds—or even three—of the caliber of Kaymer's first two is near impossible. With golfers around him coming off more successful Friday rounds, Kaymer will see his name start to trend downward as Round 3 unfolds.
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