Lahiri exits early again, veteran Westwood leads at the Players Championship

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Ponte Vedra, Mar 13 (PTI) It was yet another early exit from the Players Championships for Anirban Lahiri, who has now failed to go beyond the second round in four of his five starts at the flagship event of the PGA Tour.

Playing the USD 15 million Players Championship for the fifth time, Lahiri, who had a 78 on first day, had an eventful second round with five birdies against five bogeys for a 72 that left him way short of the cut mark.

Lahiri, who had five each of birdies and bogeys in the second round, has not quite been able to make a mark at the TPC Sawgrass, which has felled many a big name including defending champion and former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy (79-75) this year.

The only time the Indian had made it past the second round was in the 2019 edition, but he then missed the 54-hole cut, which was necessitated as more than 78 players had made the second round cut.

Some of the big stars in Top-10 of the world who missed the cut were Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson.

Amidst all the chaos, England's Lee Westwood, 47, shot a bogey free six-under 66 to get to nine-under and a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Talking of in-form players, five players who finished in the top 10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational are in the top 10 after round two: Westwood, Fitzpatrick, Chris Kirk, Bryson DeChambeau, Charley Hoffman.

Sungjae Im, who held aloft the Asian flag as he is hoping to become the second Korean after KJ Choi to win the Players, charged into contention with 6-under 66.

The round included six consecutive birdies from 15th to second as he started the day on the tenth. Im, tied-5th, is three behind Westwood.

'I felt pretty good with the shots on the driving range, so I think that helped me to feel comfortable and I was able to make the birdies in a row,' said Im, who arrived this week after one top five and three top 25 finishes this year.

Another Korean, KH Lee shot 71 and was T37 position but the other Asians exited early.

Hideki Matsuyama, (76-69) for a 145 total was one shot outside the projected halfway cut mark, while Lahiri (78-72), Xinjun Zhang (76-76), Chinese Taipei's CT Pan (78- 74), Korea's Sung Kang (76-81) and Byeong Hun An (83-79) will miss the weekend play.

Overnight leader, Sergio Garcia added 72 to his first round 65 and was Tied-third with Chris Kirk (72-65).

When the second round was suspended due to darkness eight players were left on the course. PTI Cor ATK ATK