Co-leader Tommy Fleetwood only completed three holes of his second round while Tom Hoge didn’t play a shot due to weather delays; Justin Thomas three back after bogey-free 69 – watch day four live on Sunday from midday on Sky Sports The Players
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 13/03/22 12:06am
Justin Thomas increased his hopes of becoming the first back-to-back winner of The Players after setting the clubhouse target on another weather-disrupted day at TPC Sawgrass.
The PGA Tour’s flagship event is already confirmed for a Monday finish after “unplayable course conditions” limited the amount of action over the first two days, while further overnight rain and thunderstorms meant the first round could not resume until midday (5pm GMT) on Saturday.
Thomas closed out a level-par 72 before carding a brilliant second-round 69 in strong winds, on a day where over half the field were unable to finish and 27 players did not even get out onto the golf course because of the earlier delays.
The former world No 1 posted three birdies in a bogey-free round to get within three strokes of the lead, with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson also in the group on three under after a round-of-the-day 68.
Tom Hoge remains in a share of the lead without playing a shot, with the American due to start his second round early on Sunday, while Tommy Fleetwood cancelled out a two-putt birdie at the second with a bogey at the third to find himself back on six under when play was suspended due to darkness.
Gary Young, PGA Tour chief referee, claims the wind at TPC Sawgrass is a worry and that the tournament is not guaranteed to finish by Monday after several delays due to the weather.
Fleetwood will resume on the fourth hole when play continues at 8.15am (12.15pm GMT) on Sunday, where conditions are expected to be cold and windy, with PGA Tour officials hoping to play as much of the third round as possible in the hope they can get 72 holes completed by Monday evening.
What happened to McIlroy?
The Players Championship Live
March 13, 2022, 11:30am
McIlroy returned to finish the final three holes of his opening round, played across three days, where he made a two-putt birdie at the par-five 16th and three-putted the par-three next in strong winds to close an opening-round 73.
After a quick turnaround, McIlroy started his second round with five straight pars and added another when he holed from eight feet to avoid dropping a shot at the 15th, with the four-time major champion taking advantage of the 16th again before bogeying the 18th to turn in 36.
McIlroy missed a 10-foot birdie opportunity at the par-five second but holed from a similar distance to save par at the next, before the Northern Irishman followed a chip-in birdie from off the sixth green by finding water off the seventh tee on his way to a double-bogey on the par-four.
The former world No 1 failed to take advantage of the par-five ninth, his final hole, to leave him on two over and outside the projected cut, leaving him facing a nervous Sunday to see if he can avoid missing the cut for the second year running at The Players.
Who else struggled?
Sepp Straka was within one of the lead until a quadruple-bogey seven on his penultimate role, while Kevin Kisner briefly shared the lead before he dropped three shots in the space of two holes and then added another bogey at the par-three eighth.
Overnight co-leader Brice Garnett sits four behind after three bogeys in a five-hole stretch in fading light on Saturday, as world No 2 Collin Morikawa look set for an early exit after a second-round 75.
Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth will both miss the cut after rounds of 78 and 79 respectively dropped them to seven over, while Brooks Koepka posted a nine-over 81 and some 29 balls ended up in the water at the par-three 17th during a difficult Saturday in Florida.
Watch The Players throughout the week live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Players channel. Live coverage continues on Sunday from midday on Sky Sports The Players, with further coverage of the third and final rounds on Monday.