Svensson leads rain-delayed players as McIlroy misses cut – KGET 17

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Adam Svensson hit the hospitality marquee for birdie Saturday morning to build a two-shot lead at The Players Championship. Rory McIlroy dug a hole he couldn’t escape and missed his first cut since August.

The players finally completed their second round after storms moved in late Friday and halted play as half the field was unable to finish.

Svensson’s worst shot turned into a birdie when he got a free fall from the tee and cart path and hit a delicate green to 4 feet for birdie on the par-5 ninth. That gave him a 67 and two shots ahead of Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.

Scheffler didn’t have time, and for good reason. He played McIlroy in doubles as world No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew before the second round with a stomach bug.

There was a lot of waiting, and Scheffler did what he had to do. He had a pair of two-putt birdies on the par 5s on the back nine at TPC Sawgrass, making sure he found ground on the island green in 17th and 69.

Now that Rahm and McIlroy are out of the ring, Scheffler has a clear path back to world No. 1. Scheffler only needs to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or better to replace Rahm.

Svensson, who won his first PGA Tour title in the final tournament last year at Sea Island, has his first 36-hole lead. He was 9-under 135.

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa made no progress on Saturday morning and finished with a 73. He was three shots behind, along with Ben Griffin, Min Woo Lee and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout was tied at 8 under with Svensson when play resumed in crisp, sunny conditions. He birdied three of his last two holes for a 70.

McIlroy hasn’t missed a cut since the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs last August, a tournament that won’t have a cut going forward.

He opened with a 76 and was 6 over for the tournament when he resumed play. He picked up birdies on the par 5s, but needed a lot more. McIlroy bogeyed the 18th for a 73.

“Just very blah,” McIlroy said.

Asked again about the distraction of being such a strong voice in the big changes being made to the PGA Tour due to Saudi-funded LIV Golf, McIlroy said he was looking forward to just being a golfer again.

Still, the heavy lifting ended last week, and McIlroy has a love affair with TPC Sawgrass, just like many others. He won The Players in 2019. He has three other top 10s. He also has six missed cuts.

“Of course, you just have to be really on the course to play well here. If you’re a little behind, it definitely magnifies where you’re out,” he said. “It’s a bit of an enigma. I have been coming here for several years and I feel easier than others.”

This was not one of those weeks.

The third round was scheduled to begin on Saturday afternoon in three-way without both ties, and 75 players who managed to finish.

The sad story belonged to Luke List, who was 1 over for the tournament and just short of the green on the par-5 ninth in three. He needed four shots from there – a double bogey – where par would make the cut at 1 over and eliminate 11 players, a group that includes Justin Thomas and Shane Lowry.

There’s also Keith Mitchell, who on Friday pushed his tee shot into the water on the fifth hole, seconds before the horn sounded to stop play. He returned in the morning to hit his third tee shot, then hit a leg wedge to escape the bogey.

He’s cut the numbers, critical because he’s No. 47 in the world and needs to stay in the top 50 in just over two weeks to get into the Masters.


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