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India's Anirban Lahiri made his first cut at the PLAYERS Championship on his fourth attempt and was placed tied 39th at the midway stage of the flagship event of the PGA Tour.
Lahiri added a one-under 71 to his first round 70, getting to three-under 141. He had missed the cut on three previous attempts, so it was a relief after making it to the weekend. A year earlier, he seemed all set for the weekend action before a disastrous back nine dashed those hopes.
He will play his third round with Patton Kizzire (71-70). Lahiri said, "It was a kind of a weird day. I came in for that final four-footer and there were no accidents. So, that sealed a two-under 70 and I was Tied-35th for the round. In the second round, my play was definitely better in the second round, as I hit the ball better than yesterday but I didn't convert the opportunities that I got.
Rory McIlroy charged up the leaderboard on the back nine, firing a seven-under 65 on Friday to grab a share of the lead with Tommy Fleetwood at the halfway stage of the Players Championship.
McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, went seven under par on his final 11 holes, making an eagle on the par-five 16th, a birdie on the par-three 17 and par on the par-four closing hole to reach a 12-under 132 total.
He is tied with England's Fleetwood who shot a five-under 67 for his sixth straight round under par.
"It was just another good day on the golf course. I did everything pretty much the way I wanted to," McIlroy said. "My attitude has been great all year."
Ian Poulter (66), Jim Furyk (64), Brian Harman (69) and Abraham Ancer (66) are tied for third at nine-under 135 at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Australia's Jason Day shot a 66 and is tied for seventh with Keith Mitchell and Kevin Kisner at eight-under 136
Lahiri was on a roll. “I think I didn't play that well on the par 5s. I birdied two of the four Par-5s on the first day and I managed only one today. Worse, I gave away a bogey on Par-5 11th, which I had birdied a day earlier.”
“Still it was good to get one thing done, which is getting into the weekend after last year's debacle on the back nine,” he added.
Tiger Woods, who put two balls into the water at the 17th for his first-ever quadruple bogey on the hole in 69 rounds, still made the cut at three-under with rounds of 70 and 71 to be tied 39th.
There was a European one-two at the top of the leaderboard as Rory McIlroy (67-65) roared into action with an eagle and a bogey on 16th and 17th to join Tommy Fleetwood (65-67).
They were 12-under and three shots clear of yet another European star, Ian Poulter, who shot 66 despite a bogey finish at the ninth, his closing hole. Poulter shared the third spot with US Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk (64), who shot his career-best score at the TPC Sawgrass. Furyk got to know that he was into the field only on Sunday. The third player at tied third was Mexican Abraham Ancer (69-66).
No player from England, Northern Ireland or Mexico has ever won the PLAYERS Championships. While Lahiri made the cut comfortably, Kiradech, Asian Tour's other flag bearer, restored his pride with a 69 after his first round 84, but he missed the cut.
The cut fell at one-under and 80 players made the cut. Making the cut on the line were stars including Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson.
Stars missing the cut included FedExCup standings leader Xander Schauffele, Li Haotong, Jordan Spieth, former champion Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Vijay Singh and Paul Casey.