Alex Cejka takes lead

PONTE VEDRA: Alex Cejka charged to a surprise two-stroke lead halfway through the Players Championship on Friday, just a week after an epidural injection in his neck.

The Czech-born German took advantage of benign morning conditions to shoot a near-flawless five-under-par 67 in the second round of the $9.5 million tournament at the Sawgrass TPC. He posted an 11-under 133 total, while Englishman Ian Poulter carded 68 for second place on nine-under, with Masters champion Angel Cabrera, of Argentina, among a large group four shots behind.

While Cejka missed only one green in regulation on Thursday, he missed eight on Friday, but made up for it by taking only 23 putts. Cejka has not won in nearly 200 starts on the US PGA Tour, a record he blames on his putting. Poulter, meanwhile, has been playing well recently, so his position on the leaderboard was not unexpected.

Cabrera, meanwhile, continued his impressive form from Augusta, compiling nine birdies in a spectacular display of power hitting.

“My tee shots were the difference today. I was able to get the hole started out right,” he said after carding a 65. “Yesterday I wasn’t getting it off the tee in the right spots.” Cabrera said that while his Masters win, his second major triumph, had not changed him as a person, it had been a massive confidence booster.

Tiger Woods trailed by seven shots, while 83 players made the cut, which fell at even-par 144.