PONTE, VEDRA BEACH FLORIDA – Three of the world’s top-10 in Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama, along with five-time major-winner Phil Mickelson, found themselves with the weekend off after missing the cut in The Players Championship on Friday.
World No. 6 Fowler had to use a pair of binoculars in unsuccessfully trying to locate his golf ball in a palm tree on the sixth hole at TPC Sawgrass — his 15th of the day.
He ended up with the first of back-to-back double-bogeys, his one-under round of 71 giving the 2015 winner of the tournament a one-over total that saw him miss the cut by two shots.
World No. 8 McIlroy went into his second round at one-under par, but after six straight opening pars the Northern Ireland star found himself outside of the cut-off mark with back-to-back bogeys at the seventh and eighth.
However, his tee shot into the island green at 17 hit the front of the putting surface and spun back into the water.
The 29-year old recorded a double-bogey and signed for a 74 that saw him join Fowler at one-over.
Matsuyama, ranked ninth in the world, bounced back from a first-round 79 with a 69 — but he, too, took a double-bogey at 17 and missed the cut for the second week in a row.
Webb Simpson matched the course record of nine-under-par 63 at TPC Sawgrass on Friday, despite suffering a late double-bogey, to open up a five-shot lead on 15-under at the halfway point of the Players Championship.
Patrick Cantlay (68), South African Charl Schwartzel and New Zealander Danny Lee (both 66) were a distant second on 10-under, while Tiger Woods (71), at one-under 143, made the cut with nothing to spare, as did Jordan Spieth (68) and Justin Thomas (70).
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5