Theegala rises to 10th at The Players; Clark leads; many big names miss cut

March 16, 2024
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Indian-American Sahith Theegala dropped one bogey against six birdies to card a 5-under 67 as he jumped up to 7-under and to Tied-10th,

Ponte Vedra (US), March 16 (IANS) Indian-American Sahith Theegala dropped one bogey against six birdies to card a 5-under 67 as he jumped up to 7-under and to Tied-10th, up from over T-37 at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Theegala, who has come close to picking a win this season, is seven shots behind the leader, Wyndham Clark, the reigning US Open champion. Clark shot identical 65-65 to be 14-under and four ahead of Xander Schauffele (69) and Canadian Nick Taylor at 10-under at PGA TOUR’s flagship event.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and American Maverick McNealy share fourth place at 9-under while defending champion Scottie Scheffler, Canadian Corey Conners and course-record holder Tom Hoge are six shots off the pace at 8-under.

Scheffler had a scare in the morning when he needed ongoing physiotherapy treatment on a neck complaint during his round. Yet, the world No. 1 managed to post 69.

Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan feeling sore in his left wrist is making a bold run at The Players Championship. The one-time PGA Tour winner made a huge par save on his last hole at The Stadium Course to post a 4-under 68 for tied 10th place on 7-under.

Asia’s challenge was also being carried by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama who fought back from a slow start for the second straight day and signed for a successive 69 to sit on 6-under in the US$25 million showpiece.

Korea’s Si Woo Kim, the 2017 Players champion, will enter the weekend on 3-under after a 71 while compatriot Sungjae Im shot a 72 to lie on 2-under.

World No. 5 Clark is one of the hottest golfers after winning three times in the span of 10 months, including February’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. With a second successive 65 at TPC Sawgrass, he became the first player in The Players history to open with two consecutive rounds of 65 or better.

Rory McIlroy hit his third water ball of the tournament at the par-4 12th hole and signed for a 1-over 73 and is now 6-under par going into the weekend, eight shots behind leader Clark.

Will Zalatoris (71-74) and Justin Thomas (73-75) missed the cut and were the biggest names to make an early exit.

Also heading home early are PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Eric Cole (72-74), Farmers Insurance Open champion Matthieu Pavon (70-77) and The American Express champion Nick Dunlap (77-70).

Korea’s Byeong-Hun An, who entered the week ranked fifth in the FedExCup, shot 69-80 for a double-digit swing between the first and Michael Kim shot 68-80 to miss the cut.

Past Players champions Webb Simpson (2018) and Matt Kuchar (2012) also missed the cut.

Justin Rose was on the cut line when he came to the 17th and then hit two shots into the water and had a quadruple-bogey 7 to miss the cut.

Ryan Fox also missed the cut a day after making Players history.

On Thursday he became the first player in Players history to make consecutive eagles – an eagle and an ace. He shot 69-76.

The second round was suspended due to darkness with two players left to complete the round and will resume on Saturday.

–IANS

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