Ice-cool Martin Kaymer produced a controlled display to stay in front of the chasing pack at the Players Championship yesterday (Singapore time), but American Jordan Spieth was in hot pursuit just one shot behind.
Germany's Kaymer, who tied the course record with a sizzling nine-under 63 on Friday, followed up with a second-round 69 to post a 12-under total of 132 in the PGA Tour's flagship event widely regarded as the unofficial fifth Major.
Young gun Spieth - at 20 one of the most exciting prospects in the game - fired a superb bogey-free 66 to occupy second place with compatriot Russell Henley (71) a further three strokes back at eight under.
Breezy weather on another hot day at the TPC Sawgrass made the Stadium Course at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida a more difficult prospect for the players, and Kaymer was delighted to remain at the top after mixing five birdies with two bogeys.
"I didn't hit as many fairways as yesterday but I managed my way quite nicely around the golf course," the 29-year-old from Dusseldorf said after covering the back nine in two-under 34.
"I had a couple of nice up-and-downs and two longer putts went in, so I kept it really well together. Overall, 12 under par.
"I'm very pleased.
"It was a little difficult today. I thought it was already gusty in the morning, and the pin positions were a little bit tougher than yesterday."
Kaymer, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the highest level with his play-off win at the 2010 PGA Championship, birdied two of the last four holes to seize an early five-stroke lead before that was trimmed by Spieth in the afternoon.
Tour veteran Jim Furyk was at six under after carding a 68, level with fellow American Gary Woodland, US Open champion Justin Rose, former world No. 1 Lee Westwood and Spaniard Sergio Garcia who all posted 71s.
Australian world No. 2 Adam Scott, one of four players competing at the Players Championship who could dislodge the absent Tiger Woods from the top spot after today's final round, made the cut right on the number after carding a 67.
Woods, who won this event last year, is continuing his recovery from back surgery.
Scott, who needs to finish no worse than joint-16th this week to become No. 1 for the first time, rebounded from a dismal opening 77 to finish at even-par 144, level with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (74).
McIlroy appeared likely to miss the cut after staggering to the turn in a woeful six-over 42 but he birdied four of the last seven holes, sinking a 12-footer on the 18th green, to qualify for the third round. - Reuters.