These big names are exiting early at The Players Championship

Jordan Spieth will advance to play the weekend at TPC Sawgrass – but just barely.

Spieth entered his final hole of Friday’s second round, the par-5 ninth, a shot clear of the projected cut line, but after hitting his second shot into the right rough, about 25 yards from the hole, Spieth needed four more shots to get the ball in the hole.

His closing bogey left him with a 2-over 74, and at even par, Spieth was one of 21 players on the cut line at The Players Championship. Eight players will have to finish their second rounds at 7 a.m. Saturday, though the line can’t move. Harry Higgs and Victor Perez are even par with one and three holes left, respectively, while Sam Ryder and Adam Schenk are each 2 over with at least two to play.

Other players, including several big names, are already on their way home. Hideki Matsuyama, who a year ago fired an opening 63 before the tournament was canceled, joined Scottie Scheffler, Tyrrell Hatton and Marc Leishman in missing the cut by one.

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Among those missing the cut by two shots was Viktor Hovland, who called a two-shot penalty on himself on Thursday. Gary Woodland shot 76 after an opening 70 to also fall two shots short along with Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Max Homa and Bubba Watson.

Steve Stricker backed up mightily with a 77 and was part of a group at 3 over that also included Tony Finau and Francesco Molinari.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were both pre-tournament favorites, but finished 36 holes at 4 over and 5 over, respectively. Rickie Fowler’s struggles continued, as he finished at 6 over.

And then there was defending champion Rory McIlroy, who headed back home after a 10-over performance in which he beat just 10 players.

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