May 12, 2018: A valiant Anirban Lahiri endured a roller coaster Friday, before missing the cut on the edge of the slice. Anirban made a pair of birdies early in his round to move inside the top ten. But a miserable back nine put paid to his chances of staying over for the weekend of THE PLAYERS Championship.
A string of bogeys at the bend brought Anirban to his knees and the water at the 13th hole sank his chances of making the cut for the first time in three attempts. By then he was even par and needed to finish the remaining holes well to secure himself.
Unfortunately for the Indian, another bogey at the par-5 16th hole put paid to his hopes for a successful weekend. The second round score of 75 erased the gains he made with a 69 in the opening round.
Anirban will need to take this blow on the chin, carry the several positives from this week as he makes an effort to put his season back in order.
Webb Simpson didn’t miss anything except the island green. On the verge of shattering the course record Friday at TPC Sawgrass — even a 59 was in play — Simpson hit sand wedge into the water on the notorious par-3 17th and made double bogey that ruined his round, but not his day at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied the record with a 9-under 63, and he had a five-shot lead, the largest in the 45 years of this tournament.
“It wasn’t a mistake,” Simpson said. “Just the wrong club.”
He was in no mood to let that sour his mood. Simpson simply couldn’t miss, whether it was a 35-foot eagle putt on his second hole or a 30-foot birdie putt up the slope and into the cup on the 15th . At that point, all he could do was laugh.
And then he reached the 17th, playing 147 yards to a back pin, the light wind playing tricks with him. He kept backing off, trying to decide between sand wedge and pitching wedge. He said a few fans were telling him to hit it.
The ball hit the wooden frame on the front of the green, caromed high in the air and landed on the back of the green with so much momentum that it rolled through the light collar of rough and disappeared into the water.
Simpson was the seventh player to shoot 63 on the Stadium Course — five since 2013 — and his 15-under 129 tied the 36-hole record set two years ago by Jason Day.