Na, Kelly lead by two after 36 at Players

RSS

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Winds died down Friday at The Players Championship, but TPC Sawgrass still provided a stern test for the game’s best. Here are how things look at the halfway point, where Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na share the lead:

Leaderboard: Jerry Kelly (-8), Kevin Na (-8), Rickie Fowler (-6), Branden Grace (-6), David Hearn (-6), Chris Kirk (-6), Zach Johnson (-5), Bill Haas (-5)

What it means: Na began the day with a share of the lead, then took sole possession of first with a 3-under 69. He was caught late in the day by Kelly, a veteran playing in this event for the 20th consecutive year.

Round of the day: Kelly, 48, opened with a 71 and then caught fire during the second round, carding a 7-under 65 for the best round this week. He played the back nine in 3-under 33 before reeling off four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 2-6 and closing with a 10-foot birdie on No. 9.

Best of the rest: Haas quietly cobbled together a bogey-free 67 to move onto the first page of the leaderboard. The former FedEx Cup champ birdied No. 11 before adding four birdies in a five-hole stretch from No. 16 to No. 2.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth was unable to rebound from a slow start, but he wasn’t the only player in his marquee group to miss the cut. Jason Day joined him on the sidelines after an eye-popping 81, a round that included two double bogeys and a triple bogey on No. 4.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: The top of the leaderboard remains rather bunched, while the world No. 1 quietly lurks in the background. Rory McIlroy shot a 1-under 71 in the second round to move to 4 under, four shots off the lead, and it feels as though the Ulsterman is primed for a big move on Moving Day.

Quote of the day: “I can’t believe I’ve actually won here.” – 2007 Players champ Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut for the third straight year after rounds of 73 and 76.

Shot of the day: Robert Streb needed a strong finish to make the cut, and he found just that. Sitting outside the cut line, Streb holed his approach to 18 from 179 yards for an improbable eagle to move from 1 over to 1 under and earn a third-round tee time.