Lee Westwood – playing some of his best golf at age 48 – photo Getty Images Kevin Cox
Play in round two of the Players Championship has been suspended and will be completed on Saturday morning US time but, to all intents and purposes, the eight players still required to complete their rounds will have little impact on how the weekend field takes shape.
Lee Westwood, who last week finished runner-up behind Bryson De Chambeau at the Arnold Palmer Invitational has carried that impressive form into the PGA Tour’s flagship event and leads by one over his fellow countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick with another shot back to first round leader, Sergio Garcia and Chris Kirk.
Westwood’s second round of 66 came of top of his solid opening 69 and at the age of 47 it appears Westwood is playing some of his best golf and Westwood agrees.
“I believe I’ve played some of my best golf over sort of the last year and a half and I’ve had some good results against quality fields,” said Westwood. “A win in Abu Dhabi and then finishing second in Dubai end of last year to win the Race to Dubai was great playing under pressure and birdieing two of the last three holes.
“Last week I obviously played well under pressure again, and this week I’ve carried it on but the nice thing for me about this week is not letting last week (his near miss) affect me in a negative way.”
“I’ve regrouped. I’ve still got the memories of last week, of playing well and hitting good shots when I needed to, but there’s no hangover from last week. It’s a feel-good experience for me this week, and I’ve carried that into the first two rounds.”
Jason Day is the best of the Australians to date, the former winner in a share of 18th place but only six shots from the lead and only four out of 3rd place. A good weekend on a golf course where has tasted success previously could seem him finish very well.
“I was just a little bit disappointed with my ball-striking coming out,” said the 2016 champion.
“I struck it pretty nice kind of early on and mid part through my round. Obviously the last two fairways I missed, and then, yeah, from there you’re just trying to scramble, making sure that you get in there with par.
“I think overall it’s nice to be able to be in at 3-under. I’ve just got to be patient. I was obviously alluding to it earlier. There’s two more days.
“I think the course will play obviously a lot more difficult over the next two days, after today, just because I think their greens will start to firm out a little bit more, and we’re going to have a little bit more wind, too, a lot more than what we’ve had today. I think I’ve just got to stay patient.”
“If I can just get the putter going on those birdie putts, some things like kind of move my way, then I feel like I’m in good position. I feel like I’m striking the ball well enough to give myself opportunities, just got to get the putter going again.”
Cameron Percy is playing his very first Players Championship and has handled the TPC Sawgrass layout well with a second round 70 to be in 36th place, a position he shares with another former winner of the event, Adam Scott, Matt Jones and Cameron Smith who made the cut on the number.
Smith needed to birdie his final hole to make the weekend and from 255 years hit his second to 10 feet at the par 5 9th. He missed the eagle putt, but the birdie was enough to get him home.