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Kaymer's hopes of defending kept alive

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Martin Kaymer kept alive his chances of becoming the first champion in the 42-year history of The Players Championship to win in back-to-back years.

After a difficult first nine that made the defending champion look as if he were going to miss the cut Friday, Kaymer rallied with three birdies on his second nine. He shot even-par 72 and sits at 3 under overall.

“I didn't hit the fairways the front nine,” Kaymer said. “The back nine I did hit the fairways. So, it's just a matter of doing that.”

Kaymer was asked if he was worried about missing the cut after hitting his tee shot into the water at the 18th, his ninth hole, and making double bogey. He played the final six holes of his first nine in 5 over.

“Not worried, I just needed to figure out: How can I hit fairways? Because if I hit fairways, I can make birdies,” Kaymer said. “My irons, I hit them well. I just need to place my ball in the fairway . . . Fortunately, I slowed down my swing a little bit to have a little bit more control and then I created birdie chances.”