Paul Casey withdraws from Players Championship with injury

With its signature island green, the par-3, 17th hole is one of the most recognised in golf and will produce its fair share of excitement this weekend.

A nine-under 63 saw Simpson create the biggest halfway lead in the tournament's history and put the American on course for his first PGA Tour win in five years.

Schwartzel and Lee both shot 66.

Cowen, who has worked with past Players Championship winners and major champions Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, likes what he sees in Kiradech after starting work with the Thai at the beginning of previous year.

"My expectations are the same for every tournament", said Johnson. "It's a bummer, but I wanted to play 18 pretty solid, just to end the day well, and I think I did that". I'm playing well, my game's in good shape. "I tried to smash a sand wedge and blocked it a little bit". He almost won the first time he played, avoiding bogey until his 59th hole and tying for fourth in 2014. The course record, and perhaps even more, was in reach.

Spieth pushed his tee shot at the finishing hole into the right rough.

Thomas' approach shot from the second cut found the right rough just short of the green. I know the Masters started a little too late for Harry Vardon and Walter Hagen, but all the greats of the game are judged by their accomplishments at the Masters, the National Open, the British Open, and the PGA.

He was at 15-under 129, tying the 36-hole tournament record set by Jason Day two years ago.

"I felt like it handcuffed me", McIlroy said.

"But just a fun day". But since then the Northern Irishman has finished eighth, sixth, eighth and 12th before a tie for 35th previous year.

The 2012 US Open champion drained three from close to 20 feet on 12, 13 and 14 before holing out from off the green at the next, his ball hitting the cup at pace and dropping. "And it's rare as a golfer where everything is working well, driving, iron play, chipping and putting, and today everything came together". "I've been playing well since the back nine of New Orleans (Zurich Classic) on Friday". But he'll regret that tee shot on 17 for a long time.

Once ranked as high as sixth in the world, Schwartzel has dropped to 62nd after an indifferent couple of years.

Click on the video above to see how the players got on! . He's joined in a crowded field with fellow countryman and PLAYERS victor Jason Day, who recorded the same score.

"I want to play well here", he added. But I'm very pleased with the way I've played so far.

Yet McIlroy says he has shrugged off that setback and believes he can use it as motivation for this week's even in Florida, often billed as the unofficial fifth major. "It's hard to ask for anything more than that".

Bale, who watches golf closely and will be keeping an eye on proceedings at the Players Championship, has revealed that world No 1 Johnson is the one golfer he looks up to.

While Lahiri would be looking to find his mojo back, Kiradech is close to his career-best ranking of no. 29 achieved last month and has been tied-5th in both the WGC events he has played this year.

England's Paul Casey is out of the tournament, which starts today, with a back injury. He shot 71 and missed by two shots.

After coming in a tie for 55th in Charlotte over the weekend and struggling with his putter, Woods said the familiarity he has with TPC Sawgrass won't lead to what happened at Quail Hollow Club. Of course the inevitable "what's wrong with Jordan Spieth?" backlash will follow, and then he'll win two of his next five events.

Mickelson missed the cut for the fifth time in six years after shooting a 8-over 152 over the first two days. Despite a number of players winning multiple championships, no one has been able to repeat as champions.

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  • Julie Sanders