Nick Watney seeking second win in Florida with Players Championship
Prepare for a long, wild Sunday at The Players Championship. The leaders — Graeme McDowell and Nick Watney — will play 31 holes on Sunday, with 24 players within five shots of the lead.
The 4-1/2-hour delay that necessitated Sunday’s extended play has brought many more players into the fray.
“I could see someone going and shooting 62, 63 tomorrow,” said McDowell, who birdied three of five holes Saturday. “It really has opened up the field a little bit, these conditions.
“This is probably one of the most exciting finishes in world golf, and to have that many guys within striking distance tomorrow, it’s going to be a lot of fun to hopefully be part of.”
How easy was TPC Sawgrass playing Saturday? The 11 players that were T-7 or better were a combined 21 under par on 85 holes.
Watney is looking to add the Players title to his WGC victory at Doral earlier this year. McDowell, who’ll defend his U.S. Open title in a few weeks, has emerged from a four-week slump to contend here.
Steve Stricker and David Toms will start Sunday at 10 under par, one stroke back. K.J. Choi and Lucas Glover are another shot behind.
DON'T FORGET HIM: Martin Kaymer made an early run after play was resumed, giving him a chance to place the Players’ Waterford crystal trophy next to the Wanamaker he earned for winning the PGA Championship. Kaymer birdied his first four holes Sunday — three on putts shorter than four feet — and added another at the seventh before making three consecutive bogeys. At 8 under par, he’s three shots back of McDowell and Watney.
TOUGH WAY TO START: Peter Hanson’s first shot after Saturday’s lengthy delay? The tee shot to the island 17th green. No one wants to dwell on that shot during a 4-1/2-hour delay. It can ruin a great round, the kind that Hanson was in the midst of when play was called, in an instant. After making the cut on the number, the Swede was 7 under par through 16 holes and just three shots off David Toms’ lead.
“When you get out there and it’s your first shot ..., you don’t really know what’s going to happen,” said Hanson, a member of last year’s European Ryder Cup team.
Hanson rinsed his tee shot at 17 one day earlier, but found land this time and made par. He bogeyed No. 18 for 66.
Hanson will start Saturday five shots back of the lead. He barely made it into the Players field, then had to scramble to make the cut. The top 50 players in the world as of May 1 made the field and Hanson was ranked 45th on that date. He fell to 52nd just one week later.
He had to birdie his final two holes Friday to make the cut on the number. He hit 3-iron to seven feet on the par-3 eighth hole, then holed a four-foot birdie putt on No. 9.