When Louis Oosthuizen and Kyle Stanley tee off at 2:50 pm on Saturday, the leaderboard of The Players Championship could look a lot different than it did at the end of Friday’s second round. The co-leaders at 9-under have a host of golfers hot on their tails, which could mean they pull even with them or pull ahead with as many as 18 holes already played.
On Friday, Oosthuizen and Stanley showed they were the class of the field.
“Yeah, we’re in a pretty good spot going into this weekend. A lot of golf to be played around this golf course as we’ve seen the last two days, you can easily make mistake around this track. It’s a great golf course,” Oosthuizen explained at The Players Championship media center. “You need to keep it in the fairway, and I think by tomorrow the greens are going to be nice and firm. Today it was a lot firmer than yesterday, but yeah, it should be good. I’ve been playing well for a while now, and just putting four good rounds together.”
The changes in the leaderboard is a far cry from what it looked like after Friday when Mackenzie Hughes and William McGirt were atop the perch.
McGirt will start the day with Phil Mickelson. Hughes tees off alongside Daniel Summerhays.
Oosthuizen hasn’t had the best of luck at The Players Championship throughout his career. But on Friday, he was the best in the field, along with Stanley.
For Stanley, a 6-under 66 for the round was hard not to get happy about. He told the media his ball striking has been solid the past two days – one of the reasons he has been able to stay steady and now in the lead.
“I hit the ball really well the last couple days. I putted pretty well, as well. Made a few adjustments there, and it felt pretty comfortable on the greens. So yeah, happy with where my game is at. A lot of my birdie putts today were from fairly short range, so with as gusty as it was, certainly happy with as many looks as I had.”
Although the two are clear of the field, J.B. Holmes stands alone at 7-under and Vijay Singh three back at 6-under par.
Stanley said the course played the same for him on Friday as it did in the first round.
“On the first nine yesterday, we didn’t have much wind, so you could play pretty aggressively. The wind picked up on the back nine, so I thought it played more difficult than the front,” said Stanley. “And then today, it was pretty gusty all day, so I thought it played pretty difficult all 18 today. I definitely feel like I got the most that I could have out of that round. A couple bogeys, but you can expect that to happen around here with as difficult as the golf course is.”
As Oosthuizen explained, the path he took to The Players Championship is no different than any tournament he has played in. Now, with the lead, he can focus on maintaining his advantage and building on his success on Friday.
“I’ve been doing the same things,” he said. “I’ve been probably working a little bit more on my putting at home in Palm Beach, try and every day just do a bit of half an hour work when I can, and you know, I think it’s paid off. I’m rolling the ball really nicely and feel really confident on the greens. Other than that, you know, doing the normal stuff, and yeah, like I said, I feel I’ve been playing really well for a while, it’s just trying to put four rounds together.”