Nease grad Tyler McCumber makes cut, heads to weekend in 1st Players

Tyler McCumber plays a shot on the 14th hole during the second round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tyler McCumber plays a shot on the 14th hole during the second round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – On to the weekend they go.

Tyler McCumber had a stellar second round at The Players Championship on Friday and made the cut in his first appearance in the tournament. McCumber surged up the leaderboard, carding a 3-under 69 to reach the weekend.

At T-18, McCumber is the top local golfer on the board.

“I’m definitely in control of my golf ball, which is great,” McCumber said. “You know, hitting a lot the shots that I’m seeing. Just sort of feel like I’m plotting my way around the course pretty well.”

The Nease High and University of Florida graduate is six strokes behind leader Lee Westwood making the turn into Saturday. Among other golfers with area ties headed to the weekend are Ponte Vedra Beach’s Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith and Russell Knox, all three even at 144 and T-50.

The story of McCumber is a good one for area golf fans. He’s the first Nease golfer since Jeff Klauk in 2009 to make the cut at The Players. Klauk, whose father, Fred, was the course superintendent at TPC Sawgrass, finished T-14 that year.

And McCumber has family history here, too. McCumber’s father, Mark, won The Players in 1988.

McCumber is extremely familiar with the course. He played it in both high school and college, but never as a PGA Tour player until this week. McCumber grinded his way through the ranks, finally earning his Tour card after finishing 22nd on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019. The top 25 players on that circuit earn their Tour card.

McCumber has had a very good showing on the No. 17 island hole in both rounds. While 48 balls have gone in the water on 17 on Thursday and Friday, McCumber has birdied that hole twice. As for his father, who started 70-70 in his first two rounds at The Players when it was held at Sawgrass Country Club, Tyler said he’s been excellent at providing guidance.

“Oh, he’s been an awesome support system for me,” McCumber said of his father.

“He’s always encouraging me and sometimes given me some experience ahead of time, which a lot of the times I’ve had to learn on my own, but he’s always there to help me if I ask, which has been really awesome.”

McCumber still needs a good finish to become the top Nease High grad at The Players.

Len Mattiace had top-five finishes in 1998 and 2000 at TPC Sawgrass, going T5 and T9, respectively in those years.


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