Friday, May 08, 2015

Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na share Players 

Championship lead at Sawgrass

Veteran Jerry Kelly carded the lowest round of the tournament to earn a share of the lead with Kevin Na at the halfway stage of the Players Championship in Florida.
The 48-year-old, who won the last of his three US PGA Tour titles in 2009, blitzed the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for eight birdies and dropped just one shot in a sparkling 65 that lifted him alongside early clubhouse leader Na on eight under par.
Rory McIlroy is just four off the pace, despite enduring a frustrating afternoon as he battled to a 71, while Tiger Woods scraped into the weekend with a birdie at his last hole which preserved his proud record of never missing the cut at Sawgrass.
But Masters champion and world No 2 Jordan Spieth looked a forlorn figure as he crashed out on three over after an erratic 72, while Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood were other high-profile players who failed to make the halfway cut.
Kevin Na continued his good start to the Players Championship by carding a second- round score of 69 which leaves him on eight under going into the weekend.
Na got off to a rollercoaster start as he mixed three birdies with two bogeys over the first five holes. He steadied himself with five straight pars before picking up further shots at 11 and 12.
He gave one back after hacking his way from rough to rough at the 14th, but he drained a 15ft putt for a rare birdie at the 17th and safely parred the last to cap a three-under 69.
"I wasn't very comfortable after I made bogey on the first hole, but I made a nice birdie putt on two and followed right after on three," Na said. "My putter was definitely there today. I made a lot of good putts, key par saves, and some good birdie putts.
Jonas Blixt threw his club into the water after he shanked his tee shot on the 18th hole.
Na held the lead for the majority of the day until Kelly, playing in the final group of the second day, carded three birdies in a flawless back-nine 33 before adding four in five holes from the second.
Kelly three-putted the eighth green, but he pitched to 10 feet at the ninth and rattled in the putt to ensure his place in the final group out on Saturday afternoon.
The leading pair have a two-shot advantage over Branden Grace (67), David Hearn (71) and Chris Kirk (68), while Rickie Fowler continued his return to form with four birdies in a second straight 69.
McIlroy was at odds with his swing early on but managed to scramble five pars before making one mistake too many at the sixth, although he responded with three birdies in four holes around the turn to get within three of the lead.
But after a blocked drive into the pine straw at the long 16th, he compounded the error by taking a bold line into the green and his ball failed to carry the water.
The resulting 6 at the easiest hole on the course was a huge disappointment, but he safely negotiated the 17th before failing to convert a sublime approach to eight feet at the final hole.
The world No 1 is one of 14 players on four under par including his Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, who kept a bogey off his card and rolled in three birdie putts to return a commendable 69.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer and former winners Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are a further shot adrift, although Garcia was left to rue a sloppy finish after dropping three shots over his last seven holes.
Woods looked to be heading for his first missed cut in 17 appearances at Sawgrass as he again struggled for any kind of consistency, offsetting five birdies with as many bogeys until coming to the ninth - his last - needing a birdie at make the cut.
But the Woods of old shone through as he holed a clutch birdie putt from nine feet that salvaged a battling 71, which he celebrated with a determined, trademark fist-pump rarely witnessed over the last 18 months.
However, Spieth looked like fatigue caught up with him as he again struggled with his swing and laboured to a 72 which left him on three over, while Rose bogeyed two of his last three holes to miss the cut by a single stroke.

Live coverage of the third round at Sawgrass begins on Saturday at 7pm on Sky Sports 4

Par 144 (2x72)
136 Kevin Na 67 69, Jerry Kelly 71 65
138 Branden Grace 71 67, David Hearn 67 71, Chris Kirk 70 68, Rickie Fowler 69 69
139 Chris Stroud 70 69, Scott Brown 72 67, Bill Haas 72 67, Zach Johnson 71 68, Troy Merritt 68 71, Ben Martin 68 71

140 Rory McIlroy 69 71, Ian Poulter 71 69 (T13)
141 Henrik Stenson 72 69 A Scott 72 69, Sergio Garcia 69 72, Martin Kaymer 69 72 (T27)
142 Stephen Gallacher 72 70, Russell Knox 72 70 (T38)
143 Graeme McDowell 73 70 (T46)
144 Tiger Woods 73 71, Padraig Harrington 71 73(T61)

145 Justin Rose 71 74, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 74 71
146 Danny Willett 72 74, Lee Westwood 76 70, Bernard Langer 73 73.
149 Phil Mickelson 73 76
150 Jason Day 69 81
153 Luke Donald 77 76
Withdrew: Paul Casey  79 wd





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