Kaymer Still in Front of Players Championship

Though another course-record-tying 63 wasn't in the offing, Martin Kaymer played well enough to maintain his lead after 36 holes of the Players Championship.

The 29-year-old German followed up his 9-under-par effort Thursday with a 69 to reach 12-under 132 in the $10 million PGA Tour event at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Kaymer, who's looking for his first victory since the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2011, carded five birdies Friday along with his first two bogeys of the tournament.

On Thursday, Kaymer posted a seven-birdie 29 on the front side (his back nine after starting play on the 10th tee), breaking the all-time record for a low score on either nine at the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course at Sawgrass. His 63 matched the course record shared by Fred Couples (1992), Greg Norman (1994) and Roberto Castro (2013).

Kaymer told reporters Friday that his mental approach before starting his second round was, basically, to not try to duplicate his 63. "I think the most important thing is that you lower your expectations," he said. "Everybody else thinks you keep going like this, and subconsciously you think you should.

"I shot a few of those rounds in the past that I know the next day is very difficult. If I want to compare myself to yesterday, I was six shots worse on the first nine than yesterday. So that would be the wrong way to think."

Despite the six-stroke difference in his first two days, the 2010 PGA champion is pleased with how his game is rounding into shape. "Overall, everything is coming together nicely," Kaymer said.

One stroke behind is 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who's carded rounds of 67 and 66, Friday's low round. "I'm very happy with it," the Dallas native said of his six-birdie score during a greenside TV interview. "I've been good from tee to green."

Four back of Kaymer in solo third is Russell Henley. The 25-year-old Georgian, a two-time Tour winner, followed up Thursday's 65 with a 71.

Sixteen-time winner Jim Furyk (68) shares fourth at 6-under 138 with fellow American Gary Woodland (71), England's Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, and Spain's Sergio Garcia, who all shot 71s.

Tied for ninth at 5-under are Englishman Brian Davis (67), Australians John Senden (69), Matt Jones (69) and Geoff Ogilvy (70), South Korea's Sang-Moon Bae (73), South African Charl Schwartzel (67), and Americans Bill Haas (71), George McNeill (68), Kevin Na (69) and Scott Brown (71).

The 36-hole cut was set at even-par 144. Qualifying for the weekend right on the number is two-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who needed a birdie on the par-4 18th for a 74 to make the cut. Also at even-par is Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who opened with a 67 but ballooned to a 77 Friday.

Among those missing out on the final two rounds is five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who had a 70 but couldn't overcome his starting 75. 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson also is heading home after posting 75 and 73.

Other major winners below the cut line include Lucas Glover, Keegan Bradley, Darren Clarke, Y.E. Yang and Louis Oosthuizen.

J.B. Holmes, who won his first tournament in six years at last week's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, opened with a 76 and had a 73 Friday.

Two players withdrew Friday. D.H. Lee of South Korea, who began with a 78, completed two holes of the second round before pulling out, while Briny Baird made it through nine holes of the second round before withdrawing.

Defending champion and No. 1-ranked Tiger Woods is still recovering from back surgery and isn't playing this week.

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