PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Even on a player’s best day, TPC Sawgrass can still be an intimidating test.
Consider Chesson Hadley, who at one point early Friday had pulled two strokes ahead of the field and had an 11-foot putt for eagle at the 16th hole to pad that advantage. He would two-putt No. 16 for a birdie, find the water with his tee shot at the 17th on his way to a double-bogey 5 and finish his day with a bogey for a 69 that left him a shot off the lead.
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Even when you’re cruising along at The Players, there are too many cliffhanger shots awaiting.
“Yeah, 18, bud …17,” Hadley said when asked if he is intimidated by any tee shots on the Stadium Course. “I don’t love 5. Although that one’s growing on me. I don’t love 7. I hit it in both fairways [on Nos. 5 and 7] today, though, and I hit it in the fairway on 18.”
Despite his finish, Hadley was pleased with his play and his position on the leaderboard.
No one is safe.
Leader @ChessonHadley finds the water on No. 17. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/vUvRgtQslg
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 11, 2018
“Obviously I didn’t finish the way I would have loved to. I did a lot of great things, and I’m really not worried about the last two holes for a second,” he said. “I’m 9 under par after two rounds, and we’ve got a chance to win.”
Hadley’s confidence is born from the most consistent season of his career. He has six top-10 finishes, including a runner-up showing at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October, and finished tied for fourth place two weeks ago at the Zurich Classic.