Players Championship: Ben Silverman spent all morning practicing one do-or-die shot. Here’s how it went

Needing to make one miracle shot to stay in The Players Championship, it was do-or-die for Ben Silverman.

In the fading Florida light on Friday, the Canadian golfer stood over his ball knowing he would need to send it 109 yards straight into the cup of his final hole to make the cut at the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

Just then, play was suspended due to darkness at TPC Sawgrass. Rather than make his eagle attempt in low light, Silverman opted to mark his ball and return with playing partner Ryo Hisatsune – the only other player yet to finish – to complete his second round the following day.

That left him time for a one-of-a-kind practice session on Saturday morning.

Before the sun had even risen, the 36-year-old was out on the course’s driving range with his wedge, sending shot after shot towards a flag in a dress rehearsal of the do-or-die attempt to come.

“Let’s go make it happen,” his caddie quipped as he left the range, recorded in a video posted by the PGA Tour on X.

It would be some feat. One-over par overall as he arrived at the par-five ninth tee, Silverman – who started from the 10th hole – had to hole out from the fairway with his third shot to make it to the third round.

Practice makes perfect but Silverman could not find the perfection he needed, as the world No. 117’s approach sailed wide over the green into a bunker.

A subsequent bogey saw him sign off with a two-over 74 for the round, and two-over par overall – three shots short of the one-under par cut line.

Yet there were no regrets from Silverman, a 14-year professional who has won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit.

“There’s no point in putting so much pressure on it, just do the best I can,” reflected Silverman, who was making his Players Championship debut.

“Didn’t go in – if it went in great, but I tried my best this week.”

Silverman got his first taste of the iconic 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. - Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Silverman got his first taste of the iconic 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. - Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There was no joy for playing partner and fellow debutant Hisatsune either.

The Japanese golfer teed off from the same hole Saturday morning at even-par overall, but saw his make-or-break 34-foot birdie putt come up just short to fall one shot short of the cut line.

Big-name casualties that similarly failed to make it to the third round included multiple-major champions Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who dropped out after finishing one-over and two-over respectively.

Winner of the event in 2021, Thomas had never missed the cut at the tournament in eight previous appearances.

Wyndham Clark took a four stroke lead into the third round after shooting his second consecutive 65, with Xander Schauffele and Nick Taylor leading the chasing pack.

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