Storms delay second round at The Players Championship

AP photo by Eric Gay / Spectators leave TPC Sawgrass in the rain Friday afternoon with the second round of The Players Championship suspended because of the weather.
AP photo by Eric Gay / Spectators leave TPC Sawgrass in the rain Friday afternoon with the second round of The Players Championship suspended because of the weather.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Chad Ramey became the only player to reach double digits under par at The Players Championship.

TPC Sawgrass, as usual, had the final say.

Ramey put two tee shots in the water on the Players Stadium Course's island green 17th hole Friday, part of a quintuple-bogey that cost him a three-shot lead on a day of wild swings and, eventually, wild weather.

The second round was suspended with half the field unable to finish because of a storm system expected to dump a half-inch of rain on the course.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa and Adam Svensson of Canada shared the lead at 8 under, both doing what it takes to stay in front on this course. They didn't make a bogey Friday — Bezuidenhout through 14 holes, Svensson through 11 holes — and each has only one for the week.

Ben Griffin was the clubhouse leader at the 36-hole mark. The former mortgage loan officer, who already had one close call in Bermuda late last year, was playing an exquisite round until taking a double bogey on his final hole for a 1-under 71.

Griffin was at at 6-under 138. Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa was 6 under through 11 holes, while Australia's Min Woo Lee was at 6 under with three holes left in his round.

"Kind of glad this rain delay and thunder came in and let the putter rest a little bit," Morikawa said, "and hopefully come out hot tomorrow."

Players were to return at 7 a.m. Saturday to finish the second round. The third round is schedule for threesomes off both tees and should be able to finish before sundown. That depends on the pace of play, and some of that depends on Sawgrass.

Ramey opened with a 64 on Thursday and birdied two of his opening three holes to reach 10 under, expanding his lead to three. After his quintuple-bogey on the 17th, he had to make a 30-foot putt to save par on the 18th, then dropped another shot on the first with a wild drive to the right. He was 4 under with eight holes left in his round.

Jon Rahm missed all of this. The No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking withdrew about 30 minutes before his tee time, citing a stomach illness. That puts his ranking in jeopardy, as No. 2 Scottie Scheffler and No. 3 Rory McIlroy can overtake him.

The advantage goes to Scheffler, who looked shaky early and settled into his round. He birdied his last two holes of the day before the suspension — Nos. 9 and 10 — to get to 5 under. He has a 15-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole waiting when play resumes.

McIlroy, meanwhile, took a double bogey on the sixth hole and was at 6 over for the tournament. He had eight holes to try to shave off four strokes that likely will be needed to make the cut.

Rahm made every cut last year, and he most recently missed a cut on the PGA Tour at the Fortinet Championship in September 2021, right before the Ryder Cup.

The course handed out some brutal punishments in the second round.

Start with Max McGreevy, who was 20 shots worse than his opening round. He shot 89, tying the wrong kind of course record as the highest ever at TPC Sawgrass. The other player who shot 89 was Michael Campbell in the first round in 2003.

Viktor Hovland was 5 under for his round through 11 holes, even getting a break when his tee shot on the par-3 17th bounced off the wooden frame of the island and onto the green. Then he ran into trouble over his final seven holes and had to settle for a 71.

Hovland was at 4-under 140, along with Will Gordon (67) and the resurgent Jason Day (70), a former world No. 1 who is slowly working his way back. Day began the year at No. 112, and he could take a big step this weekend in assuring he stays in the top 50 the next two weeks to get into the Masters next month.

As for Jordan Spieth, he saw his tee shot in the air on his final hole at the par-5 ninth and figured it was time to clean out his locker. But instead of going into water — it was so far right, the water typically isn't in play — the ball hit a spectator in the leg and bounced back to the fairway. Spieth hit a 3-wood to the collar of the green and chipped in for an eagle.

That allowed him to salvage a 75, and he was safe to make the projected cut of 1 over by a stroke.

"I got an extremely lucky break on 9, or I wouldn't be playing the weekend," Spieth said. "Trying to get that guy's information and see literally whatever he wants this weekend. Because everything from here on out is because it hit him."