Oosthuizen, Stanley share lead at Players Championship

Posted May 15, 2017

But a horror run of four shots in three holes on the front nine was the start of a series of blemishes that culminated with a rinsed tee shot en route to a bogey at the hard par-4 18th.

Day, who won wire-to-wire here previous year, was 1 under and in contention when he teed off Sunday afternoon, yet any threat he posed to break the dubious streak was gone by the time he reached the 16th hole at 1 over - and that was before the Australian carded a quadruple-bogey-9 on the hole, as well as a double bogey at 17, to finish the tournament in a tie for 60th at 7 over. "As long as I think I can compete, I'll play here". I definitely feel like I got the most that I could have out of that round. "Nothing really fazes him and there's a lot of depth behind too". They were at nine-under 135, two strokes ahead of American J.B. Holmes on a day when the top four on the leaderboard played in the more amenable afternoon conditions. "But I was patient and told myself not to go pin hunting because it was a day that would catch people out".

A three-putt bogey on the 18th took some of the gloss off a superb round but the Spaniard is in a strong position. "These greens get pretty crusty, and historically, whenever firm Bermuda or greens are crusty to where it's tough to set the putter down, I just struggle with my alignment and it just kind of throws me off".

Rory McIlroy defied pain in his back to fire a battling 71 and make it safely through to the weekend on level par, the same score as world No 1 Dustin Johnson and Masters champion Sergio Garcia, but Jordan Spieth's poor record in golf's "fifth major" continued as he missed the cut for the third year in a row.

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The victor of a major and twice a playoff loser in a major (2012 Masters, 2015 Open), he has not missed a cut since last year's Open at Royal Troon and posted 10 top-20 finishes in that period.

But it could have been worse.

The world number 84 hooked three balls into the water hazard that lines the left side of the par-four hole, running up a sextuple-bogey 10. He now gets a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and a three-year exemption to the Masters.

It included major champions, members of the PGA Tour, European PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and an interesting batch of professionals getting their first taste of competition in the PGA Tour's marquee event - and asking for seconds.

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Some star power moved onto The Players Championship leaderboard during Friday's second round - even if one of the contenders qualifies for AARP benefits.

Danny Willett withdrew after nine holes Friday due to a bad back. He gave me a lot of advice. You never really quite know when it's going to show up or pay off. "We have a week to do some work and see how it feels".

Ian Poulter's bogey-free 71 was an exceptional round. Tied for first are 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and former Clemson golfer Kyle Stanley, by way of Gig Harbor, Wash.

He faces an anxious wait for an MRI scan to identify the extent of his latest back injury.

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"If you're on your game and playing well, that the things you do", Oosthuizen said. If rest is prescribed it may put in jeopardy his place in Wentworth's BMW PGA Championship at the end of the month.