Monday Finish Looms at Players


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Lee Westwood, Joe Durant and first-round leader Steve Jones share the lead during the second-round of the weather-plagued Players Championship Saturday at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood's only PGA Tour victory came in 1998 at New Orleans.
Westwood (69) and Durant (65) are in the clubhouse at 10-under-par 134. Jones, the 1996 U.S. Open champion, who is ranked 743rd in the world, is 2 under in his second round and played nine holes.
The second round was called for darkness as Saturday's play was hurt by a three-hour delay. Players will return to the course at 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning to complete the second round, then the 36-hole cut and the third round with players in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees.
Sunday's forecast calls for more storms so a Monday finish certainly looms. Unfortunately, Monday's forecast also predicts rain, so the future of this tournament remains undecided.
Zach Johnson had sole possession of the lead until a double bogey at the 18th. He shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for fourth place at 9-under-par 135. Luke Donald is 2 under on his round and is knotted in fourth through 13 holes.
Golf's 'Big Four' failed to get much going in the second round.
Vijay Singh, ranked first in the world, was moving up the leaderboard until he dumped two balls in the water at 18. He left with a quadruple-bogey eight for a 2-over 74 and a two-round total of 3-under-par 141.
Ernie Els got lucky when tournament officials decided to erase all play from Friday's attempted second round. He faced a 12-foot bogey putt on his first hole, but he could not advance up the leaderboard on Saturday. He posted his second consecutive 1-under 71 and is in at minus-2.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are part of the group that will return Sunday morning. Woods is 1 under through 10 holes in his second round and 3 under for the tournament. Mickelson is 2 under in round two and about to make the turn at minus-4 for the championship.
All players are trying to catch the trio on top.
Westwood wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Saturday. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the first, then converted an 8-foot birdie try at the par-5 second.
The Englishman ran into serious trouble at the fourth when his drive landed in the rough on the left-hand side. Unfortunately all he could do was hack it down the fairway, but from there he hit a terrible sand-wedge that plugged into the back bunker. Westwood ended up with a double bogey but rebounded.
He knocked a wedge to 8 feet to set up birdie at the sixth. Westwood collected his second birdie in a row at the seventh when he drained a 22- footer after his approach spun on to the fringe.
Westwood took the lead when the horn sounded after his seventh hole. He made a great par save at the ninth when he rolled in a 20-footer, then got up and down for birdie from the front bunker at the par-5 11th.
He saved another par from 20 feet at the 14th, but did not record another birdie. The four-time Ryder Cupper had birdie tries from inside 10 feet on several holes down the stretch, but failed to convert.
'I made a couple of good par saves. I missed a few good birdie chances,' said Westwood. 'I pretty much got what I deserved today just because the course was in the condition that it was in. Other days I got some odd bounces and maybe didn't get what I deserved.'
Durant got off to a poor start at No. 1 when he failed to save par from a bunker. He mixed three birdies and a bogey over a four-hole span on the front nine to make the turn at 1-under-par 35.
Durant caught fire on the back nine. He hit a 9-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at 10, then ran home another 10-footer, this time for eagle at the par-5 11th. He tallied another birdie at 12 when his putt from 20 feet found the bottom of the cup.
At the 14th, Durant hit a 6-iron to 18 feet where he holed yet another long birdie putt. He reached the green in two with a 3-iron at the par-5 16th and two-putted from 25 feet for birdie. In all, Durant matched the tournament's back-nine record with his 30.
'I'm pleased with how I played today,' said Durant, who hasn't won on tour since his two wins early in the 2001 season. 'I felt like I was moving in the right direction coming here this week, but you never know when you tee it up on Thursday who's going to show up, so it's better. I'm more excited.'
Jones birdied the second, then joined the leaders with a 25-foot birdie putt at seven. He bogeyed the eighth, but birdied nine to reclaim his spot atop the leaderboard.
Defending champion Adam Scott (68), Vaughn Taylor (67), Graeme McDowell (66) and Fred Funk (72) are tied for sixth place at 7-under-par 137. Padraig Harrington, who has been the runner-up the last two years, is 7 under through nine holes.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - The Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship