Players Championship: Lee Westwood leads from Matt Fitzpatrick at Sawgrass

The Players Championship: second-round leaderboard
-9 L Westwood (Eng); -8 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -7 C Kirk (US), S Garcia (Spa)
Selected: -6 B DeChambeau (US); -4 J Rahm (Spa), P Casey (Eng); -2 S Lowry (Ire), J Thomas (US); -1 D Johnson (US), P Mickelson (US); Level M Laird (Sco), R Knox (Sco); +1 T Hatton (Eng); +2 T Fleetwood (Eng), V Hovland (Nor); +3 T Lewis (Eng), R MacIntyre (Sco); +4 I Poulter (Eng); +10 R McIlroy (NI)
Full leaderboard
Players Championship
Date: 11-14 March Venue: Stadium Course, Sawgrass, Florida
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary - Saturday: 21:00 GMT and Sunday: 20:00. Live text commentary of final two rounds on BBC Sport website from 19:00, with in-play highlights

England's Lee Westwood hit a sensational bogey-free six-under 66 to move into the halfway lead at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Westwood leads on nine under, one ahead of compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick (68), with Sergio Garcia (72) and Chris Kirk (65) a further shot back in Florida.

Bryson DeChambeau carded a three-under 69 and is one of six on six under.

Rory McIlroy missed the cut after following a seven-over 79 with a 75 in round two to finish on 10 over par.

The Northern Irishman came into the tournament as the defending champion, having won this title in 2019 with the 2020 event being cancelled after one round because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he needed to improve his first-round score by 14 shots to have any chance of making the weekend but bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes ended any faint hopes he may have had.

A handful of players finished their second rounds on Saturday morning after fading light meant they were unable to do so on Friday,

The halfway cut came at level par, meaning Scottish pair Robert Knox and Martin Laird will play on after finishing on that total.

However, their compatriot Robert MacIntyre will be among those going home after closing on three over par.

England's Tyrrell Hatton, who ended one over, and compatriot Tommy Fleetwood and Norway's Viktor Hovland, who called a two-shot penalty on himself after round one, finished on two over and also miss out.

Europeans going well in Florida

While McIlroy struggled, several Europeans have made an excellent start to the tournament, none more so than Westwood, who finished runner-up to DeChambeau at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He started on the 10th and quickly improved his overnight score of three under with birdies on his first two holes.

The winner of the European Tour's Race to Dubai in 2020 had three more birdies in succession from the second and holed his sixth of the round on the par-five ninth.

"I felt in control," said the 47-year-old on Sky Sports. "I drove the ball well, iron shots were good, I hit lovely pitches and chips and kept the momentum going in a carefree round, I was in the zone.

"I liken this to Augusta in that there are certain places to hit the ball and certain places to miss. I feel comfortable when I walk out on this golf course."

Fitzpatrick picked up four birdies in his first 11 holes to get to eight under. He then had two bogeys on the fifth and eighth holes but immediately atoned for each with birdies on the sixth and ninth to ensure he will play in the final group with Westwood in Saturday's third round.

Garcia, who led on seven under after the first round, closed with a superb birdie on the par-four 18th, after almost holing his second shot.

His erratic level-par round featured five bogeys - one after he missed a par putt from inside two feet on the 15th - three birdies and a tap-in eagle on the par-five 11th.

"It was a hard day," said the Spaniard. "There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things. I obviously didn't play as well as in round one but I fought through it and tried not to shoot myself out of the tournament.

"I'm happy with 72 because I was two over with three to play."

His compatriot, the world number two Jon Rahm, had a 68 to improve to four under overall, alongside England's Paul Casey who carded a 67.

DeChambeau shines among major trio

Bryson DeChambeau during round two of the Players Championship
DeChambeau won the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week at Bay Hill

After a wild drive into the trees on the 10th, his first hole of the day, DeChambeau started with a double-bogey six.

However, he played solid golf from there on, picking up birdies on the 11th, 16th, 17th and sixth holes before finishing with another on the ninth to sign for a second round of 69.

However, he was not happy with his performance and said he was heading for a 90-minute practice session after his round.

"I'm not hitting it the best but I was able to scrap it round," he said. "I hit my driver perfectly one hole and then pretty far right the next. I just have to focus on putting the ball in play.

"I'm happy with the fact that I've still been able to keep myself in it and score well. I've been pretty lucky, for the most part."

He was playing with world number one and 2020 Masters winner Dustin Johnson, and US PGA Championship victor Collin Morikawa.

Johnson had four birdies in his opening seven holes to get to three under overall. He matched two bogeys with two birdies on his second nine before dropping two shots on the seventh after finding the water with his tee shot.

He missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the ninth as he signed for a two-under 70 and one under total.

Morikawa shot a 73 but birdied his final two holes to finish right on the expected cut mark at level par.

Americans to the fore

There are plenty of home players in contention though.

Kirk, who started on the 10th, had three successive birdies from the 15th and then holed his second shot from 146 yards for an eagle on the par-four second. He also finished with two birdies to equal Garcia's lowest round of the week so far as he improved to seven under overall.

There are four Americans tied with DeChambeau on six under.

Denny McCarthy had a hole-in-one at the par-three third in a 69 that featured just one bogey, while Charley Hoffman had six birdies in a 68.

Brian Harman had a double-bogey five on the par-three 17th after hitting his tee shot into the water that surrounds the green, but had two birdies on his second nine to sign for a 71.

Doug Ghim was among the later starters and came in with a bogey-free 67.

Sungjae Im is the sole South Korean challenging after he tied the Players Championship record of six successive birdies in a 66 that saw him finish on six under.

Meanwhile, Brendon Todd holed his 5-wood tee shot on the 213-yard par-three eighth as he shot a 69 to finish one under.

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