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Surrey's Svennson shares lead as storms interrupt Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Chad Ramey became the only player to reach double digits under par at The Players Championship. The TPC Sawgrass, as usual, had the final say.
Scottie Scheffler watches his drive from the first tee during the second round of the Players Championship golf tournament Friday, March 10, 2023, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Chad Ramey became the only player to reach double digits under par at The Players Championship. The TPC Sawgrass, as usual, had the final say.

Ramey put two tee shots in the water on the island-green 17th hole Friday for a quintuple-bogey that cost him a three-shot lead on a day of wild swings and, eventually, wild weather.

The second round was suspended with half the field unable to finish the round because of a storm system expected to dump a half-inch of rain on the Players Stadium Course.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., shared the lead at 8-under par, both doing what it takes to stay in front on this course. They didn't make a bogey Friday — Bezuidenhout through 14 holes, Svensson through 11 holes — and they have only one for the week.

Ben Griffin was the clubhouse leader. The former mortgage loan officer, who already had one close call in Bermuda late last year, was playing an exquisite round until taking double bogey on his final hole for a 1-under 71.

Griffin was at at 6-under 138. Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa was 6 under through 11 holes, while Min Woo Lee was at 6-under with three holes left in his round.

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., who played 13 holes on Friday, is tied for sixth at 5-under. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is tied for eighth at 4-under. He managed to get eight holes in. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., who played 12 holes Friday, is tied for 68th at 2-over.

Nick Taylor of Abbotsford and Mackenzie Hughes of Hamilton at tied for 91st at 4-over. Taylor played 12 holes, while Mackenzie managed to get in nine.

“Kind of glad this rain delay and thunder came in and let the putter rest a little bit and hopefully come out hot tomorrow,” Morikawa said.

Players were to return at 7 a.m. Saturday to finish the second round. The third round is schedule for threesomes off both tees and should be able to finish before sundown. That depends on the pace of play, and some of that depends on Sawgrass.

Jon Rahm missed all of this. The world's No. 1 player had a bad stomach bug and withdrew about 30 minutes before his tee time. That puts his ranking in jeopardy, as Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy can overtake him.

The advantage goes to Scheffler, who looked shaky early and settled into his round. He birdied his last two holes of the day before the suspension — Nos. 9 and 10 — to get to 5 under. He has a 15-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole when play resumes.

McIlroy, meanwhile, took a double bogey on the sixth hole and was at 6 over for the tournament. He had eight holes to try to shave off four strokes that likely will be needed to make the cut.

Rahm made every cut last year, and he last missed a cut on the PGA Tour at the Fortinet Championship in September 2021, right before the Ryder Cup.

The course handed out some brutal punishments in the second round.

Start with Max McGreevy, who was 20 shots worse than his opening round. He shot 89, tying the wrong kind of course record as the highest ever posted at the TPC Sawgrass. The other player who shot 89 was Michael Campbell in the first round in 2003.

Viktor Hovland was 5 under for his round through 11 holes, even getting a break when his tee shot on the par-3 17th bounced off the wooden frame of the island and onto the green. But then he ran into trouble over his final seven holes and had to settle for a 71.

Hovland was at 4-under 140 along with Will Gordon (67) and the resurgent Jason Day (70), a former world No. 1 who is slowly working his way back. Day began the year at No. 112 in the world, and he could take a big step this week in assuring he stays in the top 50 the next two weeks to get into the Masters.

As for Jordan Spieth, he saw his tee shot in the air on his final hole at the par-5 ninth and figured it was time to clean out his locker. But instead of going into water — it was so far right the water typically isn't in play — it hit a spectator in the leg and bounced back to the fairway. Spieth hit 3-wood to the collar of the green and chipped in for eagle.

That allowed him to salvage a 75, and he was safe to make the cut.

“I got an extremely lucky break on 9 or I wouldn’t be playing the weekend,” said Spieth, who was at even-par 144. “Trying to get that guy’s information and see literally whatever he wants this weekend. Because everything from here on out is because it hit him.”

Ramey opened with a 64 on Thursday and birdied two of his opening three holes to reach 10 under, expanding his lead to three. After his quintuple-bogey on the 17th, he had to make a 30-foot putt to save par on the 18th, and the dropped another shot on the first with a wild drive to the right. He was 4 under with eight holes left in his round.


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Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press