PGA Tour

Simpson leads, Schwartzel 2nd at Players

Webb Simpson (Getty)
Webb Simpson (Getty)

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 card. 

"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

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