Scottie Scheffler Vaults into Lead at Players Championship as Rory McIlroy Misses Cut
World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew from the Players Championship on Friday due to illness, leaving the tournament wide open for players to seize the lead. Scottie Scheffler did just that as he vaulted into the lead with a birdie-eagle start in the afternoon. At the par-5 second hole, after hitting his second shot from the rough, he lofted a pitch and amazingly made the 62-foot shot. He then jokingly chided his caddie, Ted Scott. Scheffler closed with birdies on two of his final three holes as he posted his career low at the Stadium Course and claimed his seventh career 54-hole lead/co-lead on Tour.
Rory McIlroy, who had an opportunity to overtake Rahm for the first place in the PGA world rankings with a tournament victory, ended Round 2 at five over par and will not make the cut. At the Stadium Course, he took the lead in driving distance, averaging 305.2 yards, but tied for 117th in driving accuracy, managing to only hit 13 out of 28 fairways. His putting has been an issue for him of late. He needed 31 strokes to complete the initial round here, sinking a total of 42 feet of putts, yet still ended up 2 ½ shots behind the rest of the competitors, resulting in a 142nd place out of 144.
Meanwhile, Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa and Adam Svensson of Canada shared the lead at 8 under par, both doing what it takes to stay in front on this course. No mistakes were made on Friday by either Bezuidenhout who was on the course for 14 holes, or Svensson who was playing for 11 holes, leaving them with only one bogey for the week.
Scheffler, who needs at least a top-five to supplant Rahm, will have a two-stroke advantage heading to the final round. The reigning Masters champion is seeking to win for the second time this season and supplant Jon Rahm as World No. 1.
The third round begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, with the final round starting at 10:40 a.m. Gates open at 6:45 a.m. for spectators. Fans can watch the action on ESPN+ from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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