PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Tiger Woods was facing an anxious afternoon wait after a one-under par 71 left him right on the halfway cut line early in the second round of the Players Championship on Friday.
Woods, who carded an even par 72 on Thursday, produced just two birdies -- at his seventh and 12th holes -- and a bogey at his ninth, the par-four 18th at TPC Sawgrass.
A closer looks reveals Woods hit just 12 greens in regulation and was never inside 10 feet with his approach shots.
“I just never hit it close enough,” Woods said. “The course could have been had today. It's so hot, it's playing short and the greens are receptive.”
If Woods should make the halfway cut in the $11 million US PGA Tour event, it will ensure the 14-time major winner will contest all four rounds in a seventh of eighth events since returning to full-time competition earlier this year.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (66) and Patrick Cantlay (68) enjoyed the early clubhouse lead on 10-under par 134.
The 33-year old South African Schwartzel produced similar nine-hole scores of 33.
“You keeping shooting 33s you are likely to win the golf tournament,” he said. “There was nothing really that stood out that I need to go work on. This golf course identifies your faults really quickly, so the last two days it has just been really solid, driving the ball well. Iron play is good, and also putting, hitting a lot of good putts.”
Schwartzel's effort was his lowest round in 11 months since sharing second place at last year's St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
It has been two years since he captured his last PGA Tour title, at the Valspar Championship in Florida.
Also well-placed heading to the weekend is former world number one Jason Day. The Australian, coming off a victory at Quail Hollow on Sunday, didn't drop a shot in carding a 67 that left him in a share of fourth place on eight-under.
Former Players Championship winner Phil Mickelson, who played alongside Woods for two rounds, added a 73 to his horror first-round 79 and at eight-over was headed home early.