PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA — Each of the top 10 players in the world are here, but they aren’t the ones doing the damage. In fact, not one of them is within six strokes of the lead.
The game’s best and all others are chasing Louis Oosthuizen (33rd in the world) and Kyle Stanley (176th) after each scorched through TPC Sawgrass with a 6-under 66 on a warm, windy day at the Players Championship. Both sit at 9-under par through 36 holes. Oosthuizen got there on the strength of his putter – he has picked up nearly 11 strokes on the field on the greens – and Stanley, ranked 186th on the PGA Tour in putts per round, is surprisingly right there with him. They’ve rolled the rock to the top.
Louis is so smooth.
With the full swing.
With the putter.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 12, 2017
Playing ahead of the final group Saturday will be J.B. Holmes (7 under) and 54-year-old Vijay Singh (6 under). Singh, who carded his best round at the Players since 2009, would be the oldest PGA Tour winner in history if he were to win his hometown event.
And just like that, Vijay is tied for the lead!
You can hear the hometown support. pic.twitter.com/H2GgoQn6YN
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) May 12, 2017
There are 11 players at 4- or 5-under par, the most dangerous of whom figures to be young Spaniard Jon Rahm and world No. 13 Alex Norén. Rahm, who sits at 4 under, quickly got to 6 under after the first three holes of his second round but struggled late to an even-par 72, while Norén, who is 5 under, bogeyed three of his last six holes.
A late addition to the party is Ian Poulter, who made an eagle on the par-5 16th to find his way into a tie for fifth at 5 under. His 5-under 67 included only one bogey.
Of those not playing the weekend, Jordan Spieth’s absence will stand out most. His 3-over 75 meant a third consecutive missed cut at the Players. Bill Haas, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els also will be headed home.