Published May 03, 2016
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Na and Jerry Kelly moved into a tie for the lead Friday after two rounds of The Players Championship.
Na carded a 3-under 69 in the morning to post 8-under-par 136. Kelly, in the last group of the afternoon wave off the 10th, birdied the last for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Branden Grace posted a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for third place at minus-6. He was joined there by David Hearn (71), Chris Kirk (68) and Rickie Fowler (69).
Bill Haas and Scott Brown also carded 67s on Friday. They were joined in seventh place a 5-under-par 139 by Zach Johnson (68), Chris Stroud (69), Troy Merritt (71) and Ben Martin (71).
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy also managed a 71 and finished 36 holes at minus-4. First-round leader Hideki Matsuyama stumbled to a 2-over 74 to dip into a share of 27th at 3-under-par 141. Also at minus-3 is defending champion Martin Kaymer, who shot even-par 72 in round two.
Two-time winner Tiger Woods birdied the ninth, his final hole, to make the cut on the number. Woods carded a 71 to end at even-par 144.
Jordan Spieth never got anything going on Friday and missed the cut. He wasn't the only big name to miss the weekend. Among the others to miss the cut were Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
After a 75 on day one, Spieth had three birdies and three bogeys for an even- par 72, which left him three stroke outside the cut line.
Mickelson mixed three birdies, two bogeys, one double-bogey and a triple-bogey in a round of 76. He ended at 5-over-par 149 and missed the cut at this event for the third straight year.
Day, who played alongside Spieth and McIlroy, was 7-over through seven holes on Friday as he carded two bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey in his first seven holes. Day had two birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey the rest of the way for a 9-over 81, which dropped him to plus-6.
Na had an up and down start to his round. He missed the green at the first and failed to save par. Na came right back with a 17-foot birdie putt on two and a 19-footer for birdie at the third.
The 31-year-old stumbled to another bogey at the fourth to slip back to minus-5. Na birdied the fifth from 14 feet out and followed with five straight pars.
Na jumped into the lead at 8-under thanks to back-to-back 8-foot birdie putts at 11 and 12. However, he stumbled to a bogey at the 14th. After a pair of pars, Na rolled in a 14-foot birdie try on the island green 17th and parred the last.
"I wasn't playing that bad in San Francisco, but I came here and kind of worked out a few things off the tee. I had a few loose ones today, but overall, for the first two days, I felt like I hit it really good," Na said. "I had a couple loose tee shots (early), but as things went on, I kind of figured it out. I made some nice par putts, and that's what you've got to do out here."
Kelly had a steady opening nine with birdies at 10, 13 and 17. It was his second nine where Kelly caught fire.
The three-time PGA Tour winner 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 second and followed with a birdie effort from off the green at the third. Kelly rolled in an 11-footer for birdie at five and again made it two in a row as he drained a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 6.
Those four birdies in five holes gave Kelly a share of the lead. However, he 3-putted for bogey on the par-3 eighth. Kelly erased that mistake with an 11- foot birdie putt at the ninth, his last, for the low round of the day and a share of the lead.
"It was a good number for me. I definitely got some breaks out there. I took advantage of them, but I definitely got some breaks," Kelly said. "I'm going to have to tighten up the swing a little bit. It felt great coming down the stretch, and that's the only time I really felt the adrenaline start kicking in and I swung better. That's a good harbinger, hopefully."
NOTES: Na is tied for the 36-hole lead for the sixth time on the PGA Tour. He had a piece of the 36- and 54-hole leads at this event in 2012 ... Kelly has a share of the second-round lead for the fifth time on tour ... Kelly is making his 20th straight start at the Players, which is the longest active streak ... Angel Cabrera (back), Paul Casey (illness) and Carl Pettersson (right knee) all withdrew on Friday ... The cut fell at even-par 144 with 75 players moving on to the weekend ... Also missing the cut were Ryan Moore, Senior Players champion Bernhard Langer, Bernd Wiesberger, Brooks Koepka, Jason Dufner and Ricky Barnes, who was two shots off the lead after five holes on Friday, but had four bogeys and two double-bogeys over his final 13 holes.