Players Championship: Lee Westwood leads from Matt Fitzpatrick at Sawgrass

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England’s Lee Westwood hit a sensational bogey-free six-under 66 to move into the halfway lead at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Westwood leads on nine under, one ahead of compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick (68), with Sergio Garcia (72) and Chris Kirk (65) a further shot back in Florida.

Bryson DeChambeau carded a three-under 69 and is one of six on six under.

Rory McIlroy missed the cut after following a seven-over 79 with a 75 in round two to finish on 10 over par.

The Northern Irishman came into the tournament as the defending champion, having won this title in 2019 with the 2020 event being cancelled after one round because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he needed to improve his first-round score by 14 shots to have any chance of making the weekend but bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes ended any faint hopes he may have had.

There are a handful of players who were unable to finish their second round because of fading light so the cut will not be made until they have finished off on Saturday morning but it looks likely to come at level par meaning Scottish pair Robert Knox and Martin Laird will play after finishing on that total.

However, their compatriot Robert MacIntyre will be among those going home after closing on three over par.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton, who ended one over, looks set to miss out, while Tommy Fleetwood and Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who called a two-shot penalty on himself after round one, finished on two over.

Europeans going well in Florida
While McIlroy struggled, several Europeans have made an excellent start to the tournament, none more so than Westwood, who finished runner-up to DeChambeau at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He started on the 10th and quickly improved his overnight score of three under with birdies on his first two holes.

The winner of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in 2020 had three more birdies in succession from the second and holed his sixth of the round on the par-five ninth.

“I felt in control,” said the 47-year-old on Sky Sports. “I drove the ball well, iron shots were good, I hit lovely pitches and chips and kept the momentum going in a carefree round, I was in the zone.

“I liken this to Augusta in that there are certain places to hit the ball and certain places to miss. I feel comfortable when I walk out on this golf course.”

Fitzpatrick picked up four birdies in his first 11 holes to get to eight under. He then had two bogeys on the fifth and eighth holes but immediately atoned for each with birdies on the sixth and ninth to ensure he will play in the final group with Westwood in Saturday’s third round.

Garcia, who led on seven under after the first round, closed with a superb birdie on the par-four 18th, after almost holing his second shot.

His erratic level-par round featured five bogeys – one after he missed a par putt from inside two feet on the 15th – three birdies and a tap-in eagle on the par-five 11th.

“It was a hard day,” said the Spaniard. “There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things. I obviously didn’t play as well as in round one but I fought through it and tried not to shoot myself out of the tournament.

“I’m happy with 72 because I was two over with three to play.”

His compatriot, the world number two Jon Rahm, had a 68 to improve to four under overall, alongside England’s Paul Casey who carded a 67.

Agencies

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