Spieth gets amazing break, McGreevy gets bad record score

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Spieth thought he’d be the last to pay the price at TPC Sawgrass on a big-numbers day. Instead, he got a break he never imagined Friday at The Players Championship.

Not everyone was so lucky, let alone Max McGreevy, who needed a birdie on the last hole just to break 90.

Spieth was just trying to avoid missing the cut. He had birdied his first two holes and was tied for fourth, but hit his last hole on the par-5 ninth, he was 5 over par for his round and was in serious danger of missing the cut .

When his driving was in the air, he was sure of it. The ball was flying so far to the right that it was heading into the path of the cart, then into the water which shouldn’t even be in play.

And then it was in the fairway. This ball bounced off a fan’s leg and flew away from the water and short grass.

“I probably need to birdie to make the cut, I can’t really birdie by dropping it in the good rough over there and hitting my third,” Spieth said. “That would have been a mark in a million. Instead, I ended up doing a 3.”

He ripped a 3-wood from 277 yards to the right neck of the green, then contributed an eagle to limit the damage to 75 and secure a place in the middle of the pack going into the weekend.

“I had an extremely lucky break on the 9th or I wouldn’t be playing on the weekend,” said Spieth, who was au pair 144. ‘he wants this weekend. Because everything from now on is because it hit him.

Even some of the good rounds had a lot of problems.

Viktor Hovland finished his first round Thursday with four birdies on his last five holes. He started Friday with four birdies on his first seven holes. He was tied for the lead, 5 under for the day through 11 holes.

He ended up with a ho-hum score – 71 – which was anything but a ho-hum round.

Hovland nearly chipped it from the back of the green into the water in front on his way to a double bogey at No. 4. He took the bogey from a fairway bunker on the next hole. Hovland put three bogey putts in the eighth.

He was still in reasonable shape, but not as good as he thought he would be, and not as good as he thought he was playing. Such is the nature of the Players Stadium course.

“Obviously in a good position, but pretty disappointed not to have finished it today,” Hovland said. “Because I played very, very good golf.”

There was also very poor golf.

McGreevy opened with a 69 on Thursday. He was 20 strokes short of Friday when he tied the Players Championship record at TPC Sawgrass. He made a double bogey on the No. 4, followed by a triple bogey on the No. 5, had short game problems for a double bogey on the No. 6 and left one in the bunker on the eighth par-3 en route to another. double bogie.

The good news? He birdied a footer on the last hole to beat 90. He equaled the record for worst score set by Michael Campbell in the first round in 2003.

Lucas Herbert of Australia already had quite the first round adventure when he shot 82. He followed that up with an 85 – he also birdied on his last hole. His turn included an 8 on the par-3 17 when he hit a tee shot and another long, and this being an island green, both met the same fate.

He also had a 9 on the fourth hole hitting three balls into the water – one from the rough, two from the drop zone.

For 36 holes, his card contained scores of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Such is the nature of Sawgrass, which keeps everyone on their toes.

Jason Day, who quietly regained the top 50 in the world, played alongside Herbert. The other member of the group was Aaron Wise, who made a 10 on the 18th hole Thursday by hitting three tee shots into the water.

Day felt bad for both of them, but tried to stay focused. For the most part it worked. And then there was No. 7, where he was in the middle of the fairway at 147 yards, and he had a bad swing.

“Stupid enough, I was going up 7 and talking to Luke, my caddy. I said, ‘It’s really easy to do a quick double here.’ And I ended up doubling the hole. But that’s my point. It doesn’t take much to get out of position. And when you’re out of position, it’s not like an easy bogey. Most of the time you are looking at a lookalike.

Or worse.

Or in Spieth’s case, an eagle.


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