Webb Simpson takes five-shot lead at Players Championship

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American Webb Simpson has built up a five-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Players Championship after scoring a record-equalling nine-under 63 at TPC Sawgrass.

Simpson looked set to break the course record after six successive birdies from 11th to 16th but he found the water on the par-three 17th to double bogey.

That was the only blot on the scorecard after an eagle on the second and birdies on the fifth, seventh and ninth as the 32-year-old moved to 15-under for the tournament.

Patrick Cantlay, Charl Schwartzel and world number 186 Danny Lee are tied for second on 10-under.

Justin Rose failed to build on his first round four-under with a level-par round dropping him down to tied-34th but it was better news for Ian Poulter who improved to five-under for the tournament with a score of 69. World number one and joint overnight leader Dustin Johnson shot 71 to drop to tied-11th.

Rory McIlroy was one of the major casualties after a three-over 74 saw him miss the cut, along with world number six Rickie Fowler. Scotland’s Russell Knox and English pair Danny Willett and Tyrell Hatton also missed out.

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