THE PLAYERS Second Round Highlights

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 15: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the 15th tee during the second round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 15, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The conditions during the second round of the 2019 PLAYERS Championship stayed par for the course but many of the top names in golf continued to struggle at TPC Sawgrass. Familiar names including Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and current FedEx Cup leader Xander Schauffele all find themselves on the outside looking in after missing the 1-under cutline. Meanwhile an international battle wages on at the top of the leaderboard.

Similarly to his opening round, England’s Tommy Fleetwood followed up his Thursday 65 with a 5-under 67 on Friday. With Fleetwood sitting at 12-under it was time for the Northern Ireland native Rory McIlroy to make his charge. Six birdies, an eagle and one lone bogey later McIlroy worked his way up the ranks to tie Fleetwood heading into the third round.

Elsewhere around the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass fan favorite Tiger Woods started his day strong before hitting some trouble at the often disastrous par-3 17th. Woods would hold his round together to play the weekend thanks two more birdies over his final nine holes. While Woods would certainly like to forget his foray at 17, plenty of others at the PLAYERS Championship created instant highlights throughout Friday’s second round.

McIlroy and Fleetwood battle it out for first

On an island all his own Tommy Fleetwood was locked in early Friday with an eagle from the greenside bunker at the par-5 2nd hole.

The confidence continued to roll, as did the putts, for Fleetwood as he began his day birdie, eagle, birdie.

Golf is difficult game that requires skill and sometimes, as Rory McIlroy can tell you, just a little luck. After a favorable bounce at the par-3 8th the now co-leader capitalized for birdie.

McIlroy catapulted himself into the top five after sensational stretch of three straight birdies to make the turn Friday.

McIlroy was in control of the putter early in his second round building his confidence around the greens as the round rolled on. Another lengthy birdie putt made pushed the two-time PGA Tour Player of the Year into a tie for third place.

With the lead already his, Fleetwood put more distance between himself and the field on his final hole Friday with an emphatic birdie at the par-4 18th to reach 12-under at THE PLAYERS.

Three off the lead and the end of his round in sight, McIlroy took full advantage at the par-5 16th. After reaching the green in two, the four-time Major winner sank his eagle putt to move within one stroke of Fleetwood and the lead.

With even the game’s greatest being eaten up at 17 on Friday McIlroy focused in and hit a lengthy birdie putt on the par-3 island to grab a share of the lead before closing out his day with a par on 18.

 

The eagles fly high in Florida

Rickie Fowler was in the March Madness spirit at TPC Sawgrass as he dunked home his approach for eagle at number two.

Reigning FedEx Cup Champion Justin Rose was dialed in at the par-4 15th when his second shot hit the green and rolled straight into the cup.

Following a second round 66 Ian Poulter launched himself into a tie for third place thanks to his control around the greens. The 12-time winner on the European Tour put on a clinic at the par-5 16th with a chip in for eagle.

Suspense around Sawgrass

Not all highlights are at the top of the class. After reaching 5-under and two strokes of the lead at the time Tiger Woods had all eyes glued on him at the island 17th. Woods’ positive momentum quickly took a turn after two balls in the water leading to a quadruple bogey for the two-time PLAYERS victor.

He may have failed to make the cut but Phil Mickelson was full of thrills on Friday including what was best described as a “wild birdie” at the par-5 2nd.

As he has often done throughout his career (and 12 years earlier) Phil Mickelson made spectators, and maybe even himself, breathe a sigh of relief after successfully threading the needle with his approach at the par-4 10th hole.

Highlight of the Day

Thursday it was Ryan Moore at 17 but Friday belonged to Sungjae Im at the par-3 13th with a hole in one to ignite the crowd watching on the 30th ace in PLAYERS history.

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