MIAMI (AFP/REUTERS) - World No. 2 Jordan Spieth missed the cut on Saturday at the Players Championship, his first event since squandering a back-nine Sunday to lose last month's Masters.
The 22-year-old American, struggling with his putter, opened on 72 and followed with a 71 to stand on one-under 143, one stroke over the cut line to missing the last 36 holes for the second year in a row at TPC Sawgrass.
Spieth, who defends his US Open crown next month at Oakmont, played down the notion he could be in a funk after his Masters meltdown, which denied him a second consecutive wire-to-wire win at Augusta National and handed England's Danny Willett a first Major crown.
"I don't think there's much of a connection to the Masters. I just didn't putt well," Spieth said. "Augusta seems like a long time ago to me."
World No. 1 Jason Day also had to battle through horrid putting conditions and a poor start to fire a one-over par 73 and lead by four shots on 14-under 202.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan started the third round with three straight birdies on his way to a 67 and a share of second place with German Alex Cejka (72) and American Ken Duke (65) at 10 under.
Duke and Matsuyama were the only players to break 69 on a day when 76 of the world's best players combined for 149 three-putts, almost two per player. Nobody had a bogey-free round as the field shot an average score of 75.6 strokes.