Martin Kaymer holds one-shot lead at Players

Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott make cut on the number

By Sam Kouvaris - Sports Director , Associated Press
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Former PGA champion Martin Kaymer continues to set the pace at the The Players. He holds a one-stroke lead heading into the third round on Saturday.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Martin Kaymer, who tied the course record with a 63 in the opening round, maintained a slim lead after the second round of The Players Championship on Friday.

The 29-year-old German shot 3-under 69 at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course to finish at 12-under 132 and enters the weekend with a one-stroke lead over 20-year-old Texan Jordan Spieth.

"Yesterday was just a very special day for me," Kaymer said. "You have to be careful that you don't compare yourself. I was six shots worse for the first nine than yesterday. That would be the wrong way to think. It's a new day and if you are level par or one under after nine holes, it's still a good score."

In his first big tournament since he tied for second at the Masters, Spieth had another bogey-free round Friday and shot a 6-under 66.

"Very stress-free," Spieth said. "I'd like to have that the next two days."

A couple top players barely made the weekend.

Rory McIlroy made a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 74. Adam Scott got up-and-down for birdie on his last hole at the par-5 ninth for a 67. Both made the cut on the number.

Adam Scott, in his first tournament as a married man, kept alive his hopes of going to No. 1 in the world this week with three birdies in his last four holes for a 67. That was a 10-shot improvement from Thursday and enabled him to make the cut on the number at even-par 144.

Rory McIlroy shot 42 on the front nine and appeared headed home early until making birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 74 to make the cut.

Not so fortunate was Phil Mickelson. He missed his birdie attempt on No. 18 and had a 70 to miss by one. Mickelson now has missed the cut in the two biggest events of the year β€” the Masters and The Players.

"I don't feel bad about the game," Mickelson said. "But mentally, I'm just really soft right now."

Russell Henley didn't make a par over his last six holes β€” three bogeys, three birdies β€” for a 71 and was in third place at 8-under 136. Sergio Garcia (71), U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (71), Gary Woodland (71), Lee Westwood (71) and Ponte Vedra Beach resident Jim Furyk (68) were six shots behind.

"It's a difficult golf course," Furyk said "It's playing softer, but it has sharp edges. Every hole can jump up and bite you so you have to be β€˜in it' on every hole."

Furyk said he is working on a better balance between golf and the rest of his life.

"Right now, I have a good plan," he said. "It's working. It was getting to the point that getting in the car to go to a tournament started to feel like work."

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