Webb Simpson grabs the midway lead at the Players Championship

Aubrey Yates
May 13, 2018

However, it was a different a story for his playing partners.

After making the cut with nothing to spare on Friday, Woods teed off trailing halfway leader Webb Simpson by 14 strokes on another ideal morning.

Simpson has the largest 36-hole lead in tournament history.

"It's a bummer but I wanted to play 18 pretty solid, just to end the day well, and I think I did that", said the four-time PGA Tour victor and 2012 U.S. Open champion from Wake Forest.

The 42-year-old Woods then jagged birdies at the 11th and 12th, but his charge ended with a bogey at the 14th.

Marc Leishman is next best of the Australians at seven under having posted a 67, while countryman Adam Scott has dropped a shot through 15 holes to fall to six under. It leads into the rest of the game.

Schwartzel now lies tied second heading into the weekend on 10-under par but five strokes adrift of runaway leader Webb Simpson, who tied the TPC Sawgrass course record with a blistering 9-under 63 that included a double-bogey at the island green 17th.

It was only on his fourth start at The Players Championship that Rory McIlroy broke par since then he's only had five rounds, out of 28, in the 60s and missed four cuts at TPC Sawgrass in his career, with only 3 top tens.

"It was nice, I made some putts today, that was basically the difference", Woods said. Danny Lee, a footnote at this point, is in second at 12 under.

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"It wasn't a mistake, " Simpson said. "There's still a lot of golf to be played". His chip came up short, and he missed an 18-footer from the fringe for par. "On Sunday, you've got to give this course a little more respect", he said. That's sometimes unsustainable, but Simpson delivered answers with his iron play and approach shots. "He's beating the field by what, eight shots?" "Consistent", Simpson answered. Which wasn't very good.

"I felt free today", Spieth said on the PGA Tour Live stream. "I was just trying to shoot something in the mid-60s today, and managed to do it". "We have to figure out a way to put it together, and I have not done that consistently this year so far". Simpson stood up to several major champions on Saturday and swatted away their feeble attempts at cutting into his monstrous lead. It could still happen, of course.

Where has this run of golf come from for Simpson, who hasn't won since 2014? But Simpson is the -700 favorite.

This Saturday was always about Sunday. You have to think that, if given the option, you want the biggest lead you can have. The answers, respectively, are "massive" and "nobody". He played only one PGA Tour event since then until returning this year.

At times, it looked easy for him. Still, D.J. has the most horsepower of the chasers and thus the best shot to upend the leader. Lee asked. Told that Simpson was 19 under, Lee digested that and responded, "That's an impressive three rounds, I think". "We were talking about it throughout the round, all three of us".

"I got to shoot something in the probably mid-60s both days to get myself up there to have a chance or something", Woods said.

Conditions were ideal for scoring for the second straight day. I hit some shots in the correct spots, which was nice. Woods insisted that somebody would go lower later in the day, but only Dufner even got within one of their numbers. Simpson already extended the grip end of the putter up his left arm, as Matt Kuchar does.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way Saturday, and you can read our notes and thoughts below.

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