Kaymer leads Spieth by 1 after 36 holes


PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Martin Kaymer remains atop the leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass, but a familiar name is within striking distance. Here’s how things look after two rounds at The Players Championship, where the German leads Jordan Spieth by a shot:

Leaderboard: Martin Kaymer (-12), Jordan Spieth (-11), Russell Henley (-8), Jim Furyk (-6), Lee Westwood (-6), Sergio Garcia (-6), Justin Rose (-6)

What it means: Kaymer was out early Friday and stretched his lead at one point to five shots after a 69. Spieth was among the afternoon wave and chipped away at Kaymer’s advantage, ultimately trimming it to one shot, and has now played 36 holes on the Stadium Course without a bogey, the only player without a blemish on his scorecard.

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Round of the day: Spieth is making his first appearance in this event, but he once again showed no signs of inexperience while carding a 6-under 66. The 20-year-old opened with three birdies in his first seven holes despite windy conditions, then added three more across holes 11-14, a stretch that was capped by near hole-outs at Nos. 13 and 14.

Best of the rest: Several players shot 67, but none was more vital than Adam Scott’s 5-under round. The Aussie appeared headed for an early exit after an opening 77, but he rallied to make the cut on the number and still has an outside shot at cracking the top 16 by week’s end to potentially move to No. 1 in the world.

Biggest disappointment: Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan since Patrick Reed’s “top five” boast following the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Reed bombed out with a 7-over 79 and finished the week at 9 over, ahead of only one player who completed 36 holes. Reed failed to make a birdie during the second round and carded double bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Kaymer is still in front, but the top story is now Spieth. Just weeks removed from a near-miss at Augusta National, he continues to defy even the loftiest expectations and now will play among the final group during the third round. Several notable names lurk among the group at 6 under, six shots off of Kaymer’s pace.