Players Championship: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar among leaders at Sawgrass

Rickie Fowler hits a hole-in-one on the 17th during practice at Sawgrass ahead of the 2017 Players Championship

On the verge of shattering the course record Friday at the TPC Sawgrass - even a 59 was in play - Simpson hit a sand wedge shot into the water on the notorious par-three 17th and made a double bogey that ruined his round, but not his day at The Players Championship. But there have been moments.

But McIlroy littered his card with four bogeys and needed to par the last two holes to survive, and his hopes were scuppered when his tee shot to 17 pitched on the front bank and rolled back into the water which led to a double-bogey.

"Like a kid, you start laughing (because) everything is going in", Simpson said.

On Thursday the world No. 4 settled for one birdie and one eagle, to go along with four bogeys and one double-bogey, and he hit just 61.11 percent of greens in regulation while costing himself.937 strokes with the putter.

Rory McIlroy will have an unscheduled weekend off after he missed the halfway cut following a disappointing 74 on the second day of The Players Championship.

"I felt more comfortable driving the ball and being a little more aggressive off the tees and getting it down there, squeezing it around some of these corners and consequently I had a lot of nine-irons on down".

It's a phrase that likely won't make it into promotional materials for The Players Championship anytime soon.

"He's definitely played a role in some of my thinking and what I should be doing", Stricker said. And then there's Spieth, who has 10 Top-10's in his last 16 tournaments but has also missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass three years in a row.

Granted, Simpson was hardly the only player to feast on benign scoring conditions through the first two rounds, as calm winds and soft greens have turned the PGA Tour's marquee event into some derivative of the John Deere Classic. "I still feel like I've got enough game to be out here [on the PGA Tour], so that's why I keep showing up out here". So the ball is just going a long way today, this golf course is playing very short and with this amount of humidity, the greens are going to be holding all day.

So once again we've had a week of the talking heads discussing the fifth major.

"It was disappointing that I didn't get the result I wanted at Augusta but I took a lot of positives from the fact that I probably didn't have my best stuff and I still was able to play my way into the final group and contend". "I didn't make many birdies".

"I think I was flawless inside of 12, 15".

Three players - South African Charl Schwartzel (66), Patrick Cantlay (68) and New Zealand's Danny Lee (69) - share second place at a distant 10-under par.

Day's countryman Marc Leishman was two shots back at one under after a bogey at the hard par-four 18th gave the Victorian a 71.

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