Day sets 36-hole record at The Players; Spieth, Mickelson, Fowler miss cut
Jason Day has yet to bogey a single hole of TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jason Day has set the 36-hole record at The Players Championship and leads by four shots going into the weekend at the TPC Sawgrass.
Day got up-and-down from in front of the green on the 18th hole Saturday morning and tapped in for par for a 6-under 66 to complete the second-round delayed by rain and darkness. That put him at 15-under 129, one shot better than the 36-hole mark Greg Norman established in 1994.
Norman made only one bogey that week. Day has yet to make one on a Stadium Course that has been soft and vulnerable.
Day led by four over Shane Lowry, who finished his 68 on Friday after the storm delay.
Jordan Spieth shot 71 and missed the cut at 1-under 143, along with Phil Mickelson and defending champion Rickie Fowler.
Day practically flawless and relentless play for two days at The Players Championship is a frightening combination for the players trying to catch him.
GLAD TO BE HERE: Shane Lowry of Ireland is entertaining, even when his choice words after a bad shot are not picked up by the microphones.
He said he had a meltdown during a practice round Wednesday because he was hitting the ball so badly that he wondered why he should even be playing. And then he opened with a 65. Was that a fluke? It might have felt like one Friday when he was even par through seven holes. What sparked his round? A shot in the water.
Lowry hit his wedge so fat on the par-3 17th that it didn't even reach the island, a shocker considering the back pin position. But what followed was a great putt to save bogey, and then a wedge that went into the cup for an eagle on the 18th hole, and he was on his way.
He shot 68 and was at 11-under 133, likely to be in the last group with Day in the third round.
"I thought I'd be booking a plane ticket now, how I was feeling on Wednesday," Lowry said. "Yeah, golf is a funny game. Sometimes low expectations brings good results and high expectations brings no results."
HOPING TO STICK AROUND: Jordan Spieth was at even par, two shots below the projected cut of 2-under par, when he started his back nine with two straight birdies. But a bad break when a rake kept his ball on a steep slope led to bogey, and he had to save par just to keep his chances alive. Spieth was at 1 under. He faces a shot off the pine straw that he will have to fade around the trees and try to get par, and then find one more birdies.
Phil Mickelson is down to two chances. He started dropping shots and is at 1 under. His first shot on Saturday morning is to an island green.
They still have better chances than Rickie Fowler. He is finished (71) at 1-under 143 and looks to be the first defending champion to miss the cut at The Players since K.J. Choi in 2012.
WILL THE THRILL: Of the 25 rookies at The Players, no one is having a better time than Will Wilcox. All he wanted was to make the cut. He wound up making the memory of a lifetime with a hole-in-one on the island-green 17th, the first one at The Players since 2002.
He threw his pitching wedge in the air as thousands of fans roared with delight at seeing his ball -- a yellow golf ball, no less — turn left into the cup. He leapt into the arms of his caddie, turned crouched as he pumped both arms downward. Not once, but twice.
"If you don't freak out in that moment ... I've seen so many tour players make hole-in-ones and hole shots and they're just like, nothing," said Wilcox, the 29-year-old free spirit from Alabama. "Like, 'What's wrong with you?' So especially in that situation, I get pumped up."
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