No. 5 Clark Shoots Another 65, Leads Schauffele, Taylor by 4 in 50th Players

Fifth-ranked Wyndham Clark simply repeated a low number.

Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, carded a seven-under-par 65 for the second straight day and holds a four-stroke lead over sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State and Nick Taylor of Canada in the second round of the 50th Players Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Play was halted by darkness for the second straight day, this time with three players still on the course before the 36-hole cut is made at one-under par, and the third round begins.

The 30-year-old Clark, who tied for second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last Sunday, made four is eight birdies against a single bogey to start his back nine en route to recording a 36-hole score of 14-under-par 130.

“I’ve always thought I could be where I’m at right now,” said Clark, who also claimed his third PGA Tour victory last month in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “But I was lacking a lot of things in my game and mental stuff.

“More than anything, I’m just super excited that I kind of had a ho-hum front nine and then turned and really just got into a nice zone and felt really good on the greens and shot an awesome number.

“This golf course has always kind of given me some fits. But I think it’s a course that … you just learn.”

Schauffele, who captured the 2021 Men’s Golf Olympic Gold Medal in Japan in 2021, sank a nine-foot eagle putt on the 16th holed to highlight a 69 after also being tied for the first-round lead at 65.

Taylor, who opened with a 66, followed that up with a 68, making three of his seven birdies in a row through No. 6 to offset four bogeys.

“All you’re trying to do is put some pressure on someone,” said Schauffele, who has won seven times on the PGA Tour, including the 2017 Tour Championship. “(Clark has) been playing incredible golf for quite a few months now, and he’s got the power and precision, and he’s very confident right now. So it’s important to be in that final group just to try and put some pressure on him and try and get going.”

Added Taylor: “I said at the start of the week, a lot of times here I‘ve had great rounds. I’m happy that I’ve been able to piece together a couple of nice ones. I feel like Im learning to scale back at times and kind of play to my strength. I think I had to lay up on three of the par-five holes today, and I made birdies on all three of those, so that was a nice bonus, I guess.

“I did a pretty good job today scaling back the clubs where I knew I’d probably swing a little freer, so I’ve done pretty well with that, so I need to keep doing that. I feel good about game heading to the weekend.”

Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley and Stanford sank an 18-foot eagle putt on the 16th holed I highlight a 68 and is five shots behind in a tie for fourth with 11th-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, the 2022 U.S. Open champion, who made three birdies on each nine in a 69.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the defending champion who received treatment on his neck on  the 14th tee, made three birdies on each nine in a 69 and is six down in a tie for sixth with Matti Schmid of Germany, who holed out from for an eagle on the 16th hole in a 68, Corey Conners of Canada, who sank at 63-foot shoot for an eagle on No.11 in a 68, and Tom Hoge, who made a 44-foot shot for an eagle on the 16th hole.

Ninth-ranked Brian Harman holed out for an eagle from 46 feet at No. 16 in a 65 and is seven  strokes back in a tie for 10th with Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, who birdied three of his first seven holes in a 67,  J.T. Poston, who made four birdies on the front nine in a 68, and C.T. Pan of Taiwan, who had two late birdies in another 68.

Second-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who also was tied for the first round lead at 65, struggled to a 73 and is tied for 14th, while 10th-ranked Ludvig Aberg of Sweden is tied for 27th after another 73, and fourth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway made two late birdies in a 69 and is in a tie for 45th that includes seventh-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who made three birdies on the front nine in a 70.

For complete results and third-round tee time, visit:      

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