David Toms quit trying to be perfect on a TPC Sawgrass course that appears to demand it. It led to nearly perfect play over two days at The Players Championship and a one-shot lead over Nick Watney going into the weekend at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Toms went 25 holes before making a bogey Friday and countered with enough good shots for a 4-under 68, surprising only because he has missed the cut more than half of the times he has played in his nearly two decades at this event.
"It seemed early in my career around here I was always trying to play the perfect shot," Toms said. "I think the last few years, I've just learned to try to play my game, my shot... rather than trying to hit the perfect shot on the golf course."
Watney did his best to catch him.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
He started the back nine with back-to-back birdies, then gave himself a chance on every hole. Watney missed four birdie putts inside 12 feet over his last seven holes, settling for 71 after opening with a 64.
"I'm not exactly happy," Watney said, before ending his remarks with, "I'm excited where I am."
Toms was at 10-under 134, leading a quality list of contenders at the biggest event of golf's strongest tour. U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who had missed three of his last four cuts on the PGA Tour, finally got back on track with a 69 that left him two shots out of the lead, along with Steve Stricker, who made five birdies on the back nine for a 67. Luke Donald (67) and former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, the winner last week at Quail Hollow who traded birdies with bogeys for a 71, also were at 8-under 136.
Donald can go to No. 1 in the world with a victory. He has only been out of the top 10 once since last September. Perhaps even more impressive this week is that Donald became the first player since 2004 to make it around Sawgrass without a bogey for the open 36 holes.
Iberdrola Open — England's Chris Wood shot a 5-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the European Tour event in Servera, Spain.
The 23-year-old Wood had an 8-under 132 total on the Pula course. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and England's Matthew Nixon were tied for second. They shot 70s.
France's Gregory Bourdy, the first-round leader after breaking the course record with a 63, shot a 77 to drop eight strokes back at even par.