By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Kevin Chappell didn't exactly get off to the best of starts Friday during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
He hit his drive at the 10th hole 50 yards right into the trees, missed the green with his second shot and had to make a 20-footer to save par. Chappell played his next three holes in 4 under, though, and was off to the races -- firing a career-low 66 on the Stadium Course to finish at 9 under.
"It's big to feel like you can take advantage of the golf course," Chappell said. "I had momentum going the right direction, and it seems to be when you get the ball rolling out here, you can take advantage. But if you get behind the eight-ball it's tough to make up ground."
Chappell, who is dealing with some chest congestion that left him feeling a little "spacey" on his final nine, ended the day with six birdies, two bogeys and the eagle. His previous career-low was the 68 he shot in the final round of the 2011 PLAYERS, his debut, and this week is the first time in three starts he's broken 70 in consecutive rounds.
Chappell's spurt started when he made an 11-footer for eagle at the 11th hole, then added birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 16. Bogeys at Nos. 18 and 1 were a momentary setback but he bounced back with a 16-footer for birdie at the par-5 second and a 10-footer at No. 4 before capping the round with a 5-footer for birdie at the par-5 ninth.
"The course is in great condition," Chappell said. "The greens are rolling as pure as anything we've played all year, so you get the ball on line it's going to go in the hole. That's going to lead to good scores, and there hasn't been any wind. The more wind and the firmer the greens get the tougher it's going to be."
Chappell, who played golf at UCLA, has had a feast-or-famine kind of year. He tied for eighth at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, then missed the cut in six of his next seven start before tying for sixth at the Shell Houston Open. He came to TPC Sawgrass after missing the secondary cut at the Wells Fargo Championship.
"Interesting," Chappell said when asked to characterize his season. "My good finishes have been great. My weekend scoring average is nice, just have to get there. I haven't done that too many times but looking forward to the challenge of this weekend."