Golf: Kevin Na takes command while Tiger Woods survives cut with a clutch birdie putt

Kevin Na of the US hits from a sand trap on the ninth fairway in the second round of The PLAYERS Championship golf tournament on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA on May 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Kevin Na of the US hits from a sand trap on the ninth fairway in the second round of The PLAYERS Championship golf tournament on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA on May 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - Americans Kevin Na and Jerry Kelly pushed their way to the lead and Tiger Woods sank a clutch birdie putt on his last hole to make the cut during the second round of the Players Championship on Friday.

Na backed up his opening round 67 with a three-under 69 to move to eight-under 136 at TPC Sawgrass.

Veteran Kelly, 48, surprised with an impressive 65 to join Na at the top while Americans Rickie Fowler (69) and Chris Kirk (68) plus South African Brenden Grace (67) and Canadian David Hearn (71) shared third, two shots back at six-under.

Woods slammed home a nine-foot birdie on the ninth green, his final hole, to card a round of 71 and get him in at even par, right on the cut line.

The 14-time major champion was loose at times as he battled his new swing, notching five bogeys but countering with six birdies.

"It felt good. Knowing that I had to make (a) four to move on, at least assure myself to move on, it felt good," Woods said of the clutch putt.

"I feel like I'm playing well enough to get myself up there. I just need one good round and narrow up that gap between myself and the lead, and I feel like I can do that."

World number one Rory McIlroy scratched out a 71 to be four-under, just four off the pace.