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World number one Jon Rahm withdraws from Players Championship due to illness


Jon Rahm plays a shot during his first round at Sawgrass (Eric Gay/AP)

Jon Rahm plays a shot during his first round at Sawgrass (Eric Gay/AP)

Jon Rahm plays a shot during his first round at Sawgrass (Eric Gay/AP)

Jon Rahm has withdrawn from the Players Championship ahead of his second round because of illness.

The Spaniard, ranked world number one, had recorded a one-under-par 71 in his first round on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass.

Rahm tops the FedExCup standings having won three tournaments, most recently the Genesis Invitational last month.

He had been due to tee off alongside American Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, who are both in position take over the number one spot with good results this week.

Debutant Ben Griffin grabbed the second-round clubhouse lead just as strong winds arrived in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and created tougher conditions for the afternoon wave.

Griffin, who began the day three shots back of first-round leader Chad Ramey, carded a one-under-par 71 that brought him to six under on the week and two shots clear of Viktor Hovland (71), Jason Day (70) and Will Gordon (67).

The only hiccup of the day for world number 78 Griffin came at the par-four 18th where he hit a wayward drive and then hit a tree with his second shot en route to a closing double-bogey.

"Yeah, it's playing tough out there. To be bogey free through 17 holes I thought was pretty freaking good," Griffin told reporters.

"It was a grind, and unfortunately I didn't finish the way I wanted to, but the 18th hole is probably the toughest hole all day. I'm not going to be the first guy to make a double there. You're going to see a few."

Griffin reached the turn at two under after birdies at the fourth and eighth holes and then picked up another stroke at the par-four 12th where he rolled in a 51-foot birdie putt that brought him to eight-under on the week.

With playing conditions worsening the late starters, which include some big names like major winners McIlroy,Scheffler and Collin Morikawa, will have plenty of work to do to post a low score.

Morikawa finished the first round one shot off the lead while Scheffler was four back and McIlroy found himself in danger of missing the cut after opening with a four-over-par 76.

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