Westwood grabs lead at halfway point of Players

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Lee Westwood shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway point of The Players Championship, a star-studded event that boasts the biggest purse in golf.

The 47-year-old Englishman, who is now at 9-under for the tournament, started on the back nine and immediately carded a pair of birdies – on the par-four 10th hole and the par-five 11th.

After making pars on the next seven holes, Westwood moved to 6-under par with a well-struck approach shot and a birdie putt from 10 feet on the par-5 second hole.

He then rolled in a 30-foot putt on the par-3 third before moving to 8-under with an outstanding approach and an eight-foot putt that found the center of the cup.

The 31st-ranked Westwood capped off his nearly flawless round by getting up and down for one final birdie on the par-5 ninth.

Trailing him by just one shot is Westwood’s countryman, 16th-ranked Matthew Fitzpatrick, who is at 8-under for the tournament after carding back-to-back 68s.

American Chris Kirk, the world No. 84, and 43rd-ranked Sergio Garcia are in a tie for third place at 7-under par.

Six other golfers are tied for fifth place at 6-under par, including 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, the world No. 6.

Costly errors once again hurt the world’s top-ranked player, American Dustin Johnson, who is at even par after two rounds and recorded his second double-bogey of the tournament when he carded a six on the par-4 seventh hole.

Spanish world No. 2 Jon Rahm has fared better so far and currently is five shots off the lead after firing an even-par 72 on Thursday and a 4-under 68 on Friday.

The world’s best players are competing for a winner’s check of $2.7 million, which even exceeds the prize money offered at last year’s US Open and Masters.

The Players’ overall purse of $15 million is the largest in golf. EFE-EPA


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