Svensson holds lead after tent shot, helpful drop

Svensson holds lead after tent shot, helpful drop

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Adam Svensson hit a shot onto a hospitality tent and made birdie Saturday morning to build a 2-shot lead at the Players Championship.

The Players finally finished its second round after storms moved in late Friday and shut down play with half the field unable to finish.

Svensson’s worst shot turned into a birdie when he received a free drop from the tent and a cart path and hit a delicate pitch to 4 feet for birdie on the par-5 ninth. That gave him a 67 and a 2-shot lead over Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.

Scheffler took his time, and for good reason. He was playing with Rory McIlroy as a twosome after world No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew before the second round because of a stomach bug.

There was a lot of waiting, and Scheffler did what was needed. He had a pair of two-putt birdies on the par-5s on the back nine at TPC Sawgrass, made sure he found land on the island green at the 17th and capped off a 69.

Now that Rahm and McIlroy, who missed the cut, are not around, Scheffler has a clear path to return to No. 1 in the world. Scheffler needs to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or better to replace Rahm.

Svensson, who won his first PGA Tour title in the final event last year at Sea Island, has his first 36-hole lead. He was at 9-under 135.

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa didn’t make any gains Saturday morning and finished off a 73. He was three shots behind, along with Ben Griffin, Min Woo Lee and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout was tied at 8 under with Svensson when play resumed in crisp, sunny conditions. He bogeyed two of his last three holes for a 70.

McIlroy hasn’t missed a cut since the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs in August, a tournament that no longer will have a cut going forward.

He opened with a 76 and was at 6 over for the tournament when he resumed play. He picked up birdies on the par-5s but needed so much more. McIlroy made a bogey of no consequence on the 18th for a 73.

“Just very blah,” McIlroy said.

The third round was set to begin Saturday afternoon in threesomes off both tees, and the 75 players who made the cut should be able to finish.

The sad tale belonged to Luke List, who was 1 over for the tournament and just short of the green on the par-5 ninth in three. It took him 4 shots from there, a double-bogey, where a par would have made the cut at 1 over and eliminated 11 players, including Justin Thomas and Shane Lowry.

Keith Mitchell also is sticking around after shoving his tee shot right and into the water on the fifth hole Friday seconds before the horn sounded to stop play. He returned in the morning to hit his third shot from tee and then hit wedge to a foot to escape with a bogey.

He made the cut on the number, critical because he is No. 47 in the world and needs to stay in the top 50 in just over two weeks to get into the Masters.

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