Good afternoon and welcome to Fleetwood Mac day at the Players Championship, with Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy atop the leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass after 36 holes.
McIlroy surged through the field with a back nine of 31 yesterday, including an eagle at the 16th and birdie two at the island par three 17th. You could sell a 3,2,4 finish for a wedge of green bills come Sunday afternoon.
Fleetwood’s ball-striking has been relentlessly consistent, and both players will take driver whenever they get the chance. Many players try to plot their way around the awkwardly angular Sawgrass fairways, but McIlroy and Fleetwood will lean into their strength and try to cut it down to size.
Ian Poulter has a fine track record at this place and is well positioned at nine-under – he could really do with conditions taking a turn for the worse because he won’t be able to match Rory and Tommy in a birdie-fest.
The same could be said of veteran Jim Furyk, who knows every inch of this golf course having lived in Ponte Vedra Beach for the best part of two decades.
Tiger Woods played some lovely stuff yesterday, finding 16 of 18 greens in regulation, but came undone with a quadruple bogey seven at the 17th. When you take that aberration into account, a one-under 71 was more than respectable. If he keeps his card clean, Woods should make a run up the board today.
As yet, it is still unclear if Woods – who missed the Arnold Palmer Invitation with a neck injury – plans to tee it up at the Valspar Championship at Copperhead next week.
The course should play tougher because the wind is expected to switch from a southernly direction to northernly. That means the par-fives are now playing back into the wind, and the breeze will be hurting and from the left on the treacherous 17th and 18th – the most difficult wind to deal with for the right-handed player.