Tiger Woods made the cut, top-ranked Rory McIlroy did not and a US trio that included 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson shared the 36-hole lead on Friday at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Johnson fired a six-under par-66 to share the lead with USPGA rookie Kevin Na and Matt Kuchar on eight-under par-136 after two rounds of the US$9.5 million event at TPC Sawgrass.
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, avoided what would have been the first back-to-back missed cuts of his pro career by firing a 68 to stand on two-under 142.
Woods sank four birdies in a row starting at the par-3 eighth, including birdies at the par-5 ninth and 11th holes, to finish in a share of 30th among 72 players who made the cut on level par 144.
Missing for the weekend will be Northern Ireland star McIlroy, who will defend his US Open crown next month in San Francisco.
Last week, McIlroy lost in a playoff at Quail Hollow. This week, McIlroy opened with a 72, then followed with a 76 to miss the cut for the first time in more than a year. McIlroy has missed the cut in all three of his Players starts.
AFP, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
England’s Oliver Wilson, who lost his European Tour card last season, hit a seven-under par-65 on Friday to lead the Madeira Islands Open by one shot at the halfway stage.
Wilson, yet to drop a shot after two rounds, leads from Swedish pair Magnus Carlsson and Joakim Lagergren, who both had rounds of 66, and England’s Andy Sullivan, who hit a 64.
Sullivan, a Walker Cup player last year, also had a bogey-free day and attributed his superb round, which featured six birdies and an eagle, to an improved putting technique.