Germany’s Alex Cejka was in red-hot form at TPC Sawgrass today as he moved into an early second-round lead at the Players Championship.
Cejka, still searching for his maiden PGA Tour victory after playing full-time in the United States since 2003, began the day at six under par, a shot behind overnight leader Ben Crane.
The 39-year-old quickly moved past his American rival on the par-72, 7,215-yard Players Stadium Course with three birdies in a row between the second and fourth holes and then added another at the par-fourth seventh.
Crane was another early starter, playing in the group behind Cejka, and he birdied the first and fifth holes before bogeying the par-three eighth, to leave the Czech-born German two strokes in front at 10 under.
The gap widened, though, when Crane bogeyed again, at the par-four 10th, while Cejka added birdies at the 10th and 11th to move into a five-shot lead at 12 under.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington had improved to one under for the week after seven holes starting from the 10th tee and with the projected cut mark hovering at level par, there were plenty of big names needing good rounds to reach the weekend.
Camilo Villegas of Colombia was also moving forward, two birdies in the first six holes taking him to seven under after nine, while American Bubba Watson birdied the first hole and was six under after four holes of his second round.
Sweden’s Robert S Johnson and John Mallinger of the US will resume play in the afternoon groups at six under with England’s Ian Poulter, Retief Goosen of South Africa and Americans David Toms, Scott Verplank and Jonathan Byrd set to start at five under.
Another American, Kevin Na, joined the group at five under with four birdies on his front nine but Brad Adamonis fell off the pace, dropping two shots to slip to three under.
England’s Paul Casey had two birdies from his opening five holes to move to four under, from where Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and in-form American Nick Watney will be starting in the later groups.
Phil Mickelson, the 2007 Players champion, was at one over after seven holes, as was playing partner Adam Scott, the 2004 winner.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald of England were set to begin their second rounds at two over with another Englishman Ross Fisher six over for the week after 10 holes.
World number one Tiger Woods will begin his round later today looking to get is putter going and improve on his opening one-under-par 71.