Players Championship: Martin Kaymer leads by one from Jordan Spieth at Sawgrass
Martin Kaymer still leads at the Players Championship but is just a shot ahead of Jordan Spieth going into the weekend.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SportsPaulH
Last Updated: 10/05/14 11:13am
Kaymer held a two-shot advantage overnight thanks to his course record-equalling 63 on Thursday and was five clear of the field when he posted a halfway total of 12-under-par, before the afternoon challengers cut into his advantage.
Young gun Spieth is yet to drop a shot at Sawgrass this week and he provided the main challenge to the German with a superb 66 to power to 11-under and ensure he would play with Kaymer in Saturday's final group.
Former world No 1 Kaymer holed from 25 feet on the third, but dropped his first shot of the week on the seventh after driving into a fairway bunker.
A birdie on the ninth took the 29-year-old out in 35 and three more birdies and one bogey on the back nine meant Kaymer set a testing target for the later starters after enjoying the best of the conditions.
"It was very difficult today," said Kaymer. "It was a little tougher especially when you shoot such a low score, your expectations are very high and you need to find a way to lower those expectations and see it as a new day so 69 was a very good score today. The pins were in some corners and it was more windy so I am very pleased.
"I didn't hit as many fairways as yesterday, but I managed my way quite nicely around the golf course, had a couple of nice up and downs and two longer putts went in. I think I kept it really well together and kept myself in the tournament.
"It's a great start, but we are only halfway."
American Russell Henley sits in third place on his own on eight-under after he followed his flying first round 65 with a steady 71, and there are plenty of big names also in with a shout.
Jim Furyk may not be the biggest fan of the Pete Dye design at Sawgrass, but he still managed to card a second round 68 to move to six-under alongside big-hitting Gary Woodland.
US Open champion Justin Rose and former Players Championship winner Sergio Garcia both finished on six-under after rounds of 71, but Rory McIlroy had to hole putt on the 18th just to make the cut.
The two-time major champion dropped six shots in five front-nine holes as his game went to pieces, but he recovered superbly with four back-nine birdies just scraping him into the weekend at level par.
Phil Mickelson could not survive the cut though, as he finished on one-over after a 70 to miss out on the weekend by a shot.
Lee Westwood is also in the mix at six-under after his 71, including a rare birdie on the 17th, while fellow Englishman Brian Davis shot a five-under round of 67 with five birdies and an eagle to sit just a shot further back.
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