By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Charlie Wi said he’s never seen TPC Sawgrass in better condition and on Friday he played like it.
”You can tell always by when you get to the 11th tee box, usually there's no grass there,” said Wi, who had eight birdies en route to a 67 that leaves him near the lead at 6 under heading to the weekend. “But this year, it's just perfect.”
Wi was nearly perfect on the front nine, going out in 31 with five birdies and no bogeys.
Spurred on by a hot putter, Wi had 11 putts through his first nine holes and ended the day with a dozen one-putts. His only slip-up came on the 18th, where he slid his 3 1/2-footer for par past the hole.
Still, Wi is in good position as he tries for his first career victory on the PGA TOUR. This certainly isn’t the first time he’s put himself in contention.
At Pebble Beach, Wi opened with a 61 and led going into the final round before shooting 72 to finish second to Phil Mickelson, who closed with a 64. Wi also tied for fourth last month in San Antonio.
Wi has finished second five times in his career and has 18 top 10s.
“I think the more you put yourself in position to win, I think that it just becomes habit,” Wi said. “One day, I'm going to break the door down.”
Whether it’s this week, we’ll see. This is just the fourth PLAYERS Championship for Wi, who has twice missed the cut and never finished in the top 40.
On the flip side, Wi doesn’t have to look back very far to find a player who made THE PLAYERS his first career win on TOUR: Tim Clark did it two years ago.