16.3 C
New York
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Bubba Watson is the co-leader of the clubhouse in The Players Championship

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Bubba Watson has struggled on Players Stadium Course his entire career. But he recorded the second bogey-free round of his career on Saturday to share the clubhouse lead with Justin Thomas.

Bubba Watson is the co-leader of the clubhouse in The Players Championship.

Stranger things have already happened this week. Stranger things may yet be in store.

Watson, the powerful and talented southpaw who plays the game at a different pace than almost anyone else, will tell you that he might be the most surprised person in the set after he hit a bogeyless 68 on Saturday to tie the defending champion. Justin. Thomas at 3-under 141 and shares the lead among the 48 players who were able to complete their second rounds on a windswept and increasingly cold Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Plus: Gene Frenette: Wind-Wind Situation: A blustery day turns the island’s 17th hole at the Players Championship into a nightmare

The 2022 Players Championship: Reigning champion Justin Thomas ‘in control’ after two rounds at Players

More Championship Players: The Players Championship 2022: Doug Ghim, Kramer Hickok lead University of Texas golfers

Watson and Thomas are one shot ahead of Russell Henley (73), Kevin Kisner (74), Daniel Berger (75) and Dustin Johnson (73). Kisner was tied for the overall lead at one point, but played his last six holes 4-over.

With two more difficult days in store due to the weather systems that plagued the tournament on Thursday and Friday, patience – not always one of Watson’s virtues – will be paramount for the field as they chase a record $20 million purse.

The weather has plagued the tournament

The second round will resume on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. with temperatures forecast to be in the 30s (tournament officials aren’t ruling out a brief frost delay), with cutoff expected around 2 p.m. the third round to start soon after.

The second round was suspended due to darkness at 6:29 pm When play resumes, 94 players will have to finish their second round.

A portion of the third round and the final round will be completed on Monday. It is the first Monday ending on The Players since 2005.

“We’ve had all four seasons this week,” TPC Sawgrass director of agronomy Jeff Plotts said, referring to temperatures ranging from the mid-80s during practice rounds to the expected frigid conditions that will await early starters. on Sunday.

Plotts and a team of about 180 workers, 90 of his staff and 90 volunteers, worked from about 5 am to noon to prepare the field after a storm front hit the area. Temperatures dropped and the wind picked up in its wake and the combination tortured the world’s top pros, especially on the 17th hole Island Green, where 29 balls found the water, after only four were rinsed on Thursday and Friday.

The first four players to reach the 17th hole, Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele, then the first player with honors in the next group, Collin Morikawa, matched that with four shots. They were in the process of completing their first round, and when they returned later in the afternoon, Koepka and Scheffler found the water again.

All Koepka could do was laugh after a huge gust of wind blew his ball away from dry land.

“There’s nothing you can do,” Koepka said.

Watson, Thomas playing golf constantly

But Watson and Thomas had no such difficulties. They are playing 17 at a combined 1-under par, and they both called the hole on Saturday.

Watson and Thomas (69) are the only two players to complete nine or more holes in the second round to play golf without bogeys, and Watson had the lowest score among those players.

They were the second non-bogey cards in The Players for both, Watson in 44 career rounds and Thomas in 25.

Thomas, who was playing at No. 16 at the restart, ended his first round with a double bogey at No. 18 after hitting his second shot in the water, but it didn’t take him long to recover as he has progressed well towards a feat. Unrivaled: Successfully defend a Players title.

However, that wouldn’t be as surprising as Watson winning a Players. He’s got all the shots, but it’s a matter of finding a comfort zone, and so far in his career, Watson has been as comfortable on the Stadium Course as a distance runner with a rock in his shoe.

“For me, it’s all about vision,” said the two-time Masters champion, who has never finished higher than a tie for 37th at The Players and has missed five cuts in 13 starts. “Blind shots are very difficult for me and this golf course … the designer [Pete Dye] I knew that [he] was trying to do. I’m the perfect person who fell for the trap at every hole.”

Defending Players champion Justin Thomas awaits his turn on the 18th fairway of the Players Stadium Course on Saturday at The Players Championship.

Defending Players champion Justin Thomas awaits his turn on the 18th fairway of the Players Stadium Course on Saturday at The Players Championship.

Watson matched his third-best score on the Stadium Course. His best moment, a 66, occurred in 2011, the year between his two Masters titles.

While he’s completely comfortable at Augusta National, which meshes well with his weird feel and instinct, Dye’s design gives him fits.

When asked what he had learned about the course since its first start in 2007, he replied, “Oh my gosh… not much.”

He even admitted to having a bit of a defeatist attitude. When faced with a birdie putt attempt at No. 16, he told caddy Gabe Sauer that he needed to putt to 5-under so he would have enough room to absorb double bogeys at No. 17 and 18 and still make the projected torque cutoff.

But then Watson said that Thomas gave him some motivation.

“I looked down at the board and saw that Justin went bogeyless at 3-under, so I was trying to go bogeyless at 4-under just to get past him,” he said.

Putting the key to Watson

Watson said it all came down to putting. Not only did he make four birdie putts between 8 and 17 feet on Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 12, but he made one techy par putt after another, five of 6 feet or more, finishing with a par of 12 feet on No. 18.

“The key for me is to putt,” he said. “When I can start to make some putts, which I did today, that’s really the key to any round for me. I made some wide shots but I made the putts, and that’s really what kept the round going the whole time.”

Collin Morikawa watches his tee shot on the 17th hole of the Players Stadium Course Saturday during the second round of The Players Championship.

Collin Morikawa watches his tee shot on the 17th hole of the Players Stadium Course Saturday during the second round of The Players Championship.

Thomas also had a testy final hole to preserve his clean card, up and down from the front of the ninth green.

Thomas had routine birdies on Nos. 2 and 16 and dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 5.

“I’m excited about how I played and how I competed today,” he said. “It was a very, very tough day, and I stayed very patient and executed well.”

Fleetwood plays only three holes

Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge finished the first round as co-leaders when it was completed at 2 p.m. Both shot 6-under 66s in the first round on Thursday, with Joquin Niemann, Keith Mitchell, Kramer Hickok, Anirbarn Lahiri, Daniel Berger and Brice Garnett tied at 5 under par.

Fleetwood was able to get onto the course on Saturday and even got through three holes. Hoge never got a chance to tee off.

Players appearing on the front page of the leaderboard include Doug Ghim (4-under 14 holes), Harold Varner III (4-under 3s) and Will Zalatoris (4-under 3s).

Ponte Vedra Beach’s Cameron Smith, who shot a 69 in the first round, birdied his first hole and is four under par.

Weather: Partly cloudy and windy. High of 61. Wind NNW 20-30 mph, gusting to 43 mph. Due to dangerous weather on Saturday morning, the second round didn’t start until noon ET. Due to darkness, the second round was called off due to darkness at 6:29 pm 48 of 71 players in the first wave completed the second round on Saturday. 45 of 72 players in the second wave started the second round on Saturday (none completed).

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: 2022 Players Championship Leaderboard: Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas

Source link

- Advertisement -

New Articles