Round 2 review: THE PLAYERS Championship
March 12, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Lee Westwood fires 6-under 66 to lead by 1 after Round 2 at THE PLAYERS
A quick look at Round 2 from THE PLAYERS, which concluded Saturday morning.
Lee Westwood: The blast from the past continues at TPC Sawgrass. Fresh off his runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer presented by Mastercard, the 47-year-old English veteran busts out a 6-under 66 to move to 9-under and one clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Westwood leads Matthew Fitzpatrick: a fellow Englishman just a mere 21 years younger than the veteran – who added a second straight 68 to be 8-under.
No Englishman has ever won THE PLAYERS.
Predictably unpredictable: As has often been the case, THE PLAYERS Championship continues to be one of the greatest challenges in golf with a huge variety of player in the mix for the golden trophy and five-year PGA TOUR exemption. Plotters, bombers, veterans, young guys, tall guys, short guys, big guys, small guys – you name it, it’s in contention at TPC Sawgrass.
DeChambeau and Rahm rev up: Resilience in the face of adversity is critical on the diabolical Pete Dye layout and both Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm showed plenty on Friday. The pair are quietly lurking and ready to pounce on the weekend.
Denny McCarthy in the mix after hole-in-one: McCarthy already has a huge win in the Jacksonville area, but a perfect shot in Friday’s second round now has the 28-year-old primed and just three shots off the pace.
Early Exit: There were are plenty of big names who won’t be competing in Rounds 3 and 4. Defending champion Rory McIlroy (+10) was the biggest surprise with fellow former PLAYERS champions Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson also out of the running of another title. Others surprisingly done early include Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
Softer 17: Just 13 balls found the water on Friday at the par-3 17th island green – 23 less than the day before!
RORY McILROY (79-75) – Defending champion doubled the 10th hole the second straight day and finishes well off the pace.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU (69-69) – FedExCup leader now has ninth under-par score in 10 rounds at the event and is just three back.
DUSTIN JOHNSON (73-70) – Went four deep on his first nine Friday, but a late double bogey dropped him to T37.
JORDAN SPIETH (70-74) – Doubled the 14th hole and dropped two shots in his last three holes to sneak into the weekend on the number.
PHIL MICKELSON (71-72) – Veteran makes the cut despite rollercoaster that had six birdies, three bogeys and a triple bogey.
JUSTIN THOMAS (71-71) – Doubled the opening hole but fought hard, ensuring further play with two late birdies.
COLLIN MORIKAWA (71-73) – Two birdies in opening eight holes had him threatening to make a move but fell apart and needed to make a final hole birdie from 9-feet to play on.
JON RAHM (72-68) – Now 7-under par for his last 26 holes.
JASON DAY (70-71) – The 2016 champion leads the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and is one of just three players to be bogey free on the back nine holes.
THE PLAYERS Championship includes the chance to watch “Every Shot Live” but if you missed any today here are some of the best. Be sure to watch your favorite player tomorrow!
Brendon Todd aced the eighth hole with a 5-wood from 213 yards
Brendon Todd aces No. 8 with fairway wood at THE PLAYERS
Denny McCarthy aced the 165-yard third hole with an 8-iron
Denny McCarthy aces No. 3 at THE PLAYERS
Chris Kirk holed out for eagle from 147 yards at the first hole
Mark Hubbard holed out for eagle from 181 yards at the seventh hole
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – Eagles by Sergio Garcia through two rounds, making him the first player to make three eagles at THE PLAYERS multiple times (2011 and 2021); no player has made four eagles in a week at TPC Sawgrass.
6 – Number of birdies in a row by Sungjae Im Friday. He notched them up from the 15th through the 2nd after starting his round on the 10th. Im is the 11th to string together that many at THE PLAYERS, with the previous blitz coming from Justin Rose in 2018’s final round on holes 9-14.
8 – Number of fewer shots Byeong Hun An needed on the 17th hole on Friday after Thursday’s octuple bogey 11. An made a routine two-putt par.
9 – The percentage chance leader Lee Westwood has of holding on according to the stats gurus. Has held 36-hole lead at PLAYERS twice before but dropped to T22 (2005) and T4 (2010) on those occasions.
17 – Consecutive PLAYERS cuts made by Sergio Garcia, the longest in tournament history (second: 14, Brad Faxon 1992-1995, 1997-2006).
19 – Consecutive PGA TOUR cuts made by Jon Rahm – who now leads the streak of all active players after Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland, who ranked first and second prior respectively, each missed the cut. Schauffele ended his TOUR-best streak of consecutive made cuts at 23, dating to the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open; Hovland ranked second with 22, dating to the 2020 Honda Classic.
*Note: Rd. 2 not complete.
STROKES GAINED LEADERS: Off-the-tee (Overall: Jason Day, 2.985; Rd 2: Chris Kirk, 2.047); Tee-to-Green (Overall: Chris Kirk, 9.875; Rd 2: Chris Kirk 7.751); Approach-the-Green (Overall: Bryson DeChambeau, 5.860; Rd 2: Patton Kizzire, 4.155); Around-the-Green (Overall: Scott Piercy, 3.907; Rd 2: Robert MacIntyre 3.229); Putting (Overall: Robby Shelton, 5.424; Rd 2: Lee Westwood, 4.387); Total (Overall: Lee Westwood, 10.821; Rd 2: Chris Kirk, 7.016).
LONGEST DRIVE: Jason Day, 381 yards, 9th hole
LONGEST PUTT: Jhonattan Vegas, 62 feet, 6 inches,
LONGEST HOLE-OUT: Brendon Todd, 213 yards for a hole-in-one, 8th hole.
MOST BIRDIES: 8 – Sungjae Im (66).
BOGEY-FREE ROUNDS: Lee Westwood (66), Doug Ghim (67)
HARDEST HOLE: Par-4 14th. Played to 4.346 with just 5 birdies, 44 bogeys and 7 double bogeys.