PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Lee Westwood is not curious about evaluating himself with the participant who rose to No. 1 on the planet a decade in the past. All he is aware of is he is enjoying a few of his greatest golf, and he will get one other probability to see if it might maintain up in opposition to one of the best discipline.
Westwood had all of the photographs Friday in a bogey-free spherical on the Gamers Championship, with two birdies at first and a nifty pitch to a difficult pin on the par-5 ninth to shut with a one other birdie and a 6-under 66.
That gave him a one-shot lead over Matt Fitzpatrick (68) going into the weekend on the Stadium Course on the TPC Sawgrass, with U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau not too far behind.
Westwood, who turns 48 subsequent month, performed nicely sufficient to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational final week at Bay Hill besides that DeChambeau was one shot higher in an enchanting duel of generations on a course that favors energy.
Sawgrass favors no specific type, and it produced an eclectic mixture of contenders on the midway level.
“I feel to compete in any of those tournaments in opposition to one of the best gamers on the planet, you possibly can’t have any weaknesses in your recreation,” Westwood stated. “I would not be capable of say I am doing this higher or that higher. There’s not a shot on the market I am afraid of. There’s not a shot on the market I will stroll as much as and suppose, ‘I have not acquired this one.’
“I am snug on the market with the whole lot.”
He was at 9-under 135 and shall be a part of the All-England ultimate pairing Saturday.
Sergio Garcia was one other shot again after a 72 that regarded prefer it was so much worse with so many putts the Spaniard missed, together with a 23-inch par putt on the fifteenth gap that adopted a 5-foot par putt he missed on the 14th.
Nonetheless, the 2008 champion confirmed loads of recreation — and sufficient par putts that went in — to remain within the hunt. He drilled his method to inches away on the par-5 eleventh for his third eagle of the week, which a already ties the match report.
And he completed in type with an method that danced across the flag and settled 5 toes away for birdie on the 18th.
“It was a good looking curler coaster,” Garcia stated. “There have been numerous good issues. Sadly, numerous dangerous issues. However greater than something there was numerous preventing, and that is one of many issues that I am most pleased with as a result of when issues usually are not actually occurring and also you miss a pair putts right here and there, it is simple to form of let the spherical get away from you.”
When the second spherical was suspended by darkness, 16 gamers have been inside 5 photographs of the lead.
DeChambeau was within the group three photographs behind after a 69 that started with a double bogey from the bushes and a muffed chip out of the tough from behind the inexperienced. He was bogey-free the remainder of the best way on a course that does not let him swing for the fences due to water and cross bunkers and different manufacturers of bother.
“I am pleased with the truth that I’ve nonetheless been capable of hold myself in it and rating nicely,” DeChambeau stated. “I have been fairly fortunate, for essentially the most half. I do not suppose that’ll occur this weekend. I’ve acquired to guarantee that my recreation is nice off the tee, so I haven’t got these points occurring and I haven’t got to depend on luck for essentially the most half. I’ve to get it within the fairway.”
Kirk holed out from the primary fairway for eagle and closed with back-to-back birdies for a 65. Beginning with a chip-in for birdie on the fifteenth, he performed six straight holes in 6 below.
Sungjae Im tied the match report with six straight birdies, a streak that ended when he missed the inexperienced to the left on the par-3 third, and even then he practically chipped in. He needed to accept a 66 and was three photographs behind.
Dustin Johnson wasted begin and shot 70, leaving him eight photographs behind. Jordan Spieth made his first double bogey in 411 holes – the longest streak of his profession – and shot 74 to make the reduce on the quantity.
The weekend is as a lot about who’s lacking.
Rory McIlroy, who opened with a 79, wasn’t a lot better Friday. He made one other double bogey on the tenth gap and shot 75. His 36-hole whole of 154 was his highest ever in his 11 look on the Gamers Championship. He’s the primary defending champion to overlook the reduce since Rickie Fowler in 2016.
4 gamers from the highest 10 on the planet missed the reduce — Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson, whose hopes ended with certainly one of 13 balls within the water on the island-green seventeenth.