PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth headed house after the primary two rounds of The Gamers Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Tiger Woods would possibly want a miracle to contend for his third title right here.

However the leaderboard for the PGA Tour’s “fifth main” continues to be chock filled with big-name stars, together with Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, who share the 36-hole lead at 12 underneath.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are additionally inside hanging distance.

Here is what’s approaching the weekend at The Gamers:

Two huge names looking for a giant win

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Pictures

Fleetwood adopted his opening-round 65 with a 67, and he’ll attempt to develop into the primary Englishman to win The Gamers. He is additionally looking for his first victory on American soil after ending solo second on the U.S. Open final season.

Tiger Woods did one thing he had by no means performed earlier than in his profession by hitting two balls into the water at TPC Sawgrass’ well-known No. 17 island inexperienced.

Jordan Spieth missed the lower for the third time in his previous eight PGA Tour occasions on Friday, however he stated he seems like his sport is coming round.

Phil Mickelson’s week ended sooner than he had hoped Friday with a missed lower on the Gamers Championship and extra inquiries from media a few school admissions bribery scandal.

2 Associated

“You understand, it is an apparent subsequent step in my profession, and I do know the extra good golf I play, the extra it will get talked about,” Fleetwood stated. “However that is a very good factor — that I am anticipated to make that subsequent step.”

McIlroy has been ready fairly some time to say his 15th Tour victory. He hasn’t gained because the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2018. He completed sixth or higher in every of his earlier six begins this season, together with runner-up on the WGC-Mexico Championship in March.

“I simply have to hold seeing crimson numbers,” McIlroy stated. “That is all I have to hold seeing. I do not want a win. I am not placing myself underneath strain. Successful is a byproduct of doing all of the issues that I am doing effectively.”

Does Tiger actually have an opportunity?

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Tiger Woods is completely happy along with his placing and says he has not performed a lot incorrect apart from on 17 within the second spherical of the Gamers Championship.

Tiger Woods, after opening with rounds of 70 and 71, will begin the third spherical at Three-under, 9 pictures behind Fleetwood.

“Anybody who makes the lower has an opportunity to win this golf event,” Woods stated after Friday’s spherical.

Possibly not. For Woods to win, he’ll need to submit the biggest 36-hole comeback within the historical past of The Gamers.

In accordance with ESPN Stats & Data, the biggest 36-hole comeback was in 2010, when Tim Clark trailed Lee Westwood by seven pictures to start out the third spherical. Clark shot 66-67 on the weekend to win by one.

In 2017, Si Woo Kim overcame a six-shot, 36-hole deficit to win, and Woods got here again from a six-shot 2nd-round deficit to win in 2001.

Who invited the outdated guys?

Jim Furyk wasn’t even certain he was on this occasion. Now he is in competition. AP Photograph/Lynne Sladky

Jim Furyk, 48, grew to become the oldest participant to interrupt 65 at TPC Sawgrass with an Eight-under 64 on Friday, just one shot off the 18-hole document in The Gamers Championship.

Furyk wasn’t even conscious that he would possibly make the TPC subject after he collected his second top-10 this season with a tie for ninth at The Honda Basic in early March.

“I did not understand I had a possibility to play my manner into this subject, so I used to be sort of planning my schedule with this as an off-week,” Furyk stated. “I actually did not know that I had that chance. A few gamers instructed me I’d get within the subject, and I used to be excited.”

Serving as captain of Workforce USA within the 2018 Ryder Cup got here on the proper time, in line with Furyk. He’d been battling chest and collarbone accidents, so it gave him time to relaxation and get better. Watching the most effective gamers on this planet in France additionally motivated him to play effectively.

“Watching the Ryder Cup and being with the most effective gamers on this planet, on each side actually, I do not know, it sort of reenergized me slightly bit,” he stated. “Three or 4 years faraway from actually taking part in my greatest golf, I sort of needed to see what I used to be able to.”

After ending No. 184 on this planet in 2016, Ian Poulter unexpectedly completed in a tie for second right here in 2017, which revitalized his profession.

Poulter, 43, had 4 top-10s and 9 top-25s in Tour occasions in 2018, with two extra top-10s in six occasions this yr.

“There’s been some low factors,” Poulter stated. “I do not wish to dwell on them an excessive amount of, however clearly it wasn’t too way back. I did kick begin what’s been a pleasant couple of years, and possibly at instances you want slightly little bit of that [struggles] to have a unique perspective on golf. I feel I get pleasure from my golf a bit extra now than I did a few years in the past.”

Furyk and Poulter weren’t the one gamers over 40 who made an surprising cost. Vaughn Taylor, 43, went 67-70 within the first two rounds to seize a share of 10th place at 7-under.

“I can not put my finger on why, however I am swinging higher nowadays, which is good,” Taylor stated. “For lots of years there I used to be combating my swing and simply could not hit the fairways. I’ve performed a very good job of hitting fairways this week.”

Vaughn Taylor hadn’t made a lower at The Gamers since ending tied for eighth in 2006, lacking the weekend in every of the final eight tournaments right here.

“It has been loads of years and my sport’s modified lots and it has been slightly little bit of a curler coaster,” Taylor stated. “I am nonetheless feeling it out. It has been some time since I have been within the combine. So I am simply making an attempt to go day-to-day and see how I am feeling.”

When the important thing gamers hit the course

Saturday’s Notable Tee Occasions

PlayersStarting time (All instances ET)Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson8:10 a.m.Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama8:40 a.m.Francesco Molinari, Martin Trainer9:50 a.m.Rickie Fowler, Jhonattan Vegas10:50 a.m.Tiger Woods, Kevin Na11 a.m.Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar12:30 p.m.Patrick Reed, Adam Scott1:10 p.m.Jon Rahm, Rory Sabbatini1:30 p.m.Dustin Johnson, Byeong Hun An1:40 p.m.Jason Day, Kevin Kisner2:10 p.m.Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter2:30 p.m.Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood2:40 p.m.

When the climate began getting tough …

With an earlier date on the PGA Tour calendar, there have been extra favorable taking part in situations at TPC Sawgrass — and myriad low scores — within the first two rounds.

The climate is predicted to show over the weekend, nonetheless, with forecasts calling for cooler temperatures within the low- to mid-60s and a 70 p.c likelihood of rain on Sunday.

Forecasts additionally predict the wind will shift from the north or northeast at 10 to 20 mph, which goes to make the course harder. Gamers may need wind of their face on holes No. 9, 17 and 18, that are already treacherous.

“Any time we get a north wind within the 15 to 20 miles per hour vary and colder temperatures, your ball hanging needs to be extra exact,” stated Kevin Kisner, who opened with back-to-back 68s and is tied for seventh at Eight-under. “I feel that is going to be the largest key, hitting the ball stable and hitting your shot shapes that you simply’re making an attempt to hit.”

Woods stated the Stadium Course was already taking part in slightly shorter than it does in Might as a result of the fairways have been overseeded with rye grass.

“Proper now, this golf course is taking part in actually brief, even for this time of yr,” Woods stated. “If we performed this in Might with these situations, the golf ball can be going endlessly. However with the overseed on the fairways the ball’s not likely operating. Just a few guys are catching some mud on the golf ball, so it’s kind of of a problem.”

Should you have been questioning the place they have been

Jordan Spieth (1 over) and Phil Mickelson (four over) weren’t the one notable gamers who missed the lower. The others embrace Rafa Cabrera Bello (9 over), Paul Casey (Eight over), Zach Johnson (6 over), Henrik Stenson (1 over), J.B. Holmes (1 over), Marc Leishman (even) and Xander Schauffele (even).

Two gamers who want to stay within the high 50 of the World Golf Rankings — or win a event — to earn a Masters invitation additionally missed the lower: No. 45 Shane Lowry (Three over) and No. 49 Andrew Putnam (7 over).

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