players championship second round

Wyndham blows away field in Players Championship second round

Wyndham Clark took a step towards even more greatness on the PGA Tour, but he will not be without challengers heading into the weekend…


We could be on the cusp of something special this weekend in Florida, but Wyndham Clark doesn’t have his hand around the gold trophy yet.

The American pulled away from the field at a baked TPC Sawgrass, but the final 36 holes could yet be some for the ages.

Let’s take a look at what happened in The Players Championship second round…

So what happened?

Wyndham Clark confirmed his status as a big-game player at last year’s US Open and he took another large step towards enhancing his record on Friday, carding another 65 to take an early five-shot lead.

The 30-year-old from Denver started on the 10th hole and made six birdies on his opening nine on his way to reaching 14-under-par for the tournament. The American is aiming to win for the second time in 2024 after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

After revealing an intriguing alteration to his driver, Matt Fitzpatrick started fast in round two as well. The Englishman might have made a double-bogey on the par-4 4th hole, but he forged on with six birdies to card a 69 to become Clark’s closest pursuer early on on nine-under-par.

An eagle on hole 16 was the highlight of Maverick McNealy’s day as he wrote 68 on his scorecard to build on his 67 from round one. The 28-year-old is still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour.

World No.1 and defending champion Scottie Scheffler battled neck trouble throughout the second round. He was seen sitting behind various tee boxes acquiring the help of a physio to stretch his neck and attend to the pain he was feeling that almost forced his withdrawal.

You can read more about Scheffler below in our talking point segment. Meanwhile, Xander Schauffele by no means gave up the fight to earn his biggest PGA Tour win yet. Three birdies and an eagle helped him on his way up the leaderboard. If it weren’t for that double-bogey seven on the 11th hole…

Schauffele reached 10-under-par for the week with Canadian Nick Taylor. They are tied for second right now.

Rory McIlroy toiled on day two as he searched for his second Players Championship title. He made just four pars in his first 14 holes during a frustrating round where he scrambled for bogeys but also made five birdies which included a stunning two on the par-3 13th hole.

A one-over-par 73 took the four-time major champion to six-under for the week and eight shots behind. He is tied with Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Sepp Straka on the same score.

players championship second round

ALSO: What is it like to make your Players Championship debut?

ALSO: A Park to the Palace: The last 3 holes at TPC Sawgrass is another world entirely

Biggest talking point?

As we’ve previously alluded to, Scheffler felt discomfort in his neck from the second hole onwards on day two, to the point on hole 12 where he struggled to even swing his clubs.

“I hit a shot on my second hole today and I felt a little something in my neck, and then I tried to hit my tee shot on 12, and that’s when I could barely get the club back,” he said.

“So I got some treatment, maybe it loosened up a tiny bit, but most of the day I was pretty much labouring to get the club somehow away from me.”

The former Masters champion denied that he felt any pain in the lead-up to the PGA Tour’s flagship event which he won so convincingly in 2023.

The American still managed to card three-under-par to remain within six shots of Clark heading into the weekend but, at one stage, it wasn’t certain that he would last 36 holes.

“I did what I could to kind of stay in the tournament today, and hopefully it’ll loosen up and then I’ll be able to make somewhat normal swings tomorrow.

“I did enough I felt like today to keep myself somewhat in the tournament, and so that’s really all I could ask for.

“The way I was getting around the course, the way my neck was feeling, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue playing, so yeah, good fight out there.”

What did they say about their play?

Wyndham Clark

“I guess I’ve been breaking some records recently, which is pretty neat. More than anything I’m just super excited that kind of had a ho-hum front nine and then turned and really just got into a nice zone and felt really good on the greens and shot an awesome number.

“I guess you guys could say what you want on that. I just really don’t know what it is. I would like to play great every week,” he added. “I really looked at how Scottie has been playing this year and last year and I use him as someone to try to keep up with, and he plays good every week.

“So my thing is just try to be consistent and with our schedule now too you kind of only play big events, so that’s part of it as well.”

Matt Fitzpatrick

“Felt like I did everything well. Just felt like I played solid overall. Made a couple putts when I needed to, drove the ball well, and my approach play was good, as well. So yeah, just felt solid overall really.

“If you look at my results around here and Harbour Town, they’re not exactly amazing. I feel like it’s a place that when you play them well — like I said yesterday, you look at the winners here, it’s not like you have the same winners every year or there’s guys that sort of do well here every year.

“I really do think it tends to be a mixed bag. I think it’s when you’re playing well, you play well, and when you’re not, it’s probably a bit more penal than most.”

Nick Taylor

“It wasn’t as great off the tee today, but kind of missed in the right spots, laid up nicely on the par-5s. My wedges were really good again today.

“Again, putting solid. 17 at this time of day was brutal, so I was happy to get away with a 3 there. Then played a couple of nice shots on 18. Yeah, I was happy with the finish.”

Xander Schauffele

“All you’re trying to do is put some pressure on someone. He’s been playing incredible golf for quite a few months now and he’s got the power and precision and he’s very confident right now.

“So it’s important to be in that final group just to try and put some pressure on him and try and get going.”

Maverick McNealy

“Definitely a lot more wind, and even compared to playing yesterday afternoon, it’s twice as firm. Those fairways are a nice shade of brown. You see the landing areas really start to shrink up, especially off the tee.

“17 is the firmest green out there for sure, probably taking two, three more yards of skip than any of the other ones, and that’s not really one you want a small target on. It’s really fun to see it like this. I haven’t seen it like this my last couple Players here.”

Shot of the day

McIlroy made sure he wasn’t going near the hazard on hole 7 this time but, instead, he hit his tee shot in the pine straw and faced almost equal difficulty in trying to reach the green in two, as he did on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman played an incredible, low, squirty punch shot under some trees and over water and sand. His ball scuttled to the back of the green from where he was able to make a miraculous par.

ALSO: Round two tee times at The Players Championship

‘Former major champion talking to their own club’ moment of the day…

Webb Simpson earned his exemption this year by winning The Players Championship in 2018 and he almost holed his approach shot on the 18th hole earlier.

His ball finished at a kick-in distance, and Simpson was seen talking to his club before giving it back to his caddie.

Stat of the day

Justin Ray never misses a beat with statistics on the PGA Tour and Clark’s dominance was made even clearer with this nugget.

Clark has hit 15 or more greens and gained three or more strokes in each of the first two rounds at Sawgrass.

Since 2003, Clark is the only player to do this in consecutive rounds at the venue and only Sergio Garcia has done it twice in his career at The Players.

NOW READ: Jordan Spieth: We are being encouraged to meet with the PIF

NOW READ: A weight has been lifted! Fitzpatrick solves driver woes in bizarre fashion

Could we see a Wyndham Clark Players Championship victory? Or will someone else win? Tell NCG on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

Latest Posts

scottie scheffler players championship

The 50th Players

‘That’s why I kept playing’: Scheffler ignored pain in the neck to conquer Sawgrass


Read full article about ‘That’s why I kept playing’: Scheffler ignored pain in the neck to conquer Sawgrass
players championship final round

The 50th Players

Scottie Scheffler makes Players Championship history with comeback victory


Read full article about Scottie Scheffler makes Players Championship history with comeback victory
tpc sawgrass drink prices

The 50th Players

How much is a beer at TPC Sawgrass?


Read full article about How much is a beer at TPC Sawgrass?
the players championship

The 50th Players

The Players Championship: Everything you need to know


Read full article about The Players Championship: Everything you need to know
players championship third round

The 50th Players

Xander Schauffele turns tables at Players Championship with third-round rampage


Read full article about Xander Schauffele turns tables at Players Championship with third-round rampage
sawgrass 17th hole

The 50th Players

‘He hit that fat!’ Absorbing the waffle and wonders of 17 at TPC Sawgrass


Read full article about ‘He hit that fat!’ Absorbing the waffle and wonders of 17 at TPC Sawgrass
pga tour slow play

The 50th Players

‘We need to play faster on the PGA Tour’: Darkness halts play twice at The Players


Read full article about ‘We need to play faster on the PGA Tour’: Darkness halts play twice at The Players
quiz the players winners

The 50th Players

Quiz: Winners of The Players Championship


Read full article about Quiz: Winners of The Players Championship
players championship tee times

The 50th Players

Players Championship tee times for Round 4


Read full article about Players Championship tee times for Round 4