May 8, 2009 (UPDATE: May 10) –About midway through his experience at the PGA Tour's PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, Las Vegas' Alex Cejka was lapping the field. After 54 holes of play, Cejka, who moved to Las Vegas from Laughlin, Nevada, via Germany, was 11-under par, and five shots ahead of his closest competitor. Sure, there was a lot of golf to be played but Cejka was garning the attention in the early going. Cejka has been on a bit of a run recently. "I've been playing kind of well the last couple of weeks," said Cejka, who plays out of the TPC Las Vegas golf course. "It's just — the ball-striking is there, it's just make it score-wise, make a couple of putts, and make a couple of birdies." LIVE RESULTS. Click for Cejka's official 3rd-round press conference. Cejka was to be paired with Tiger Woods during the final round.
Cejka had made four of his last six cuts coming into the PLAYERS Championship, but three of those were finishes in the top 15. Interestingly, all three were final finishes of tied for 13th. Cejka led the Verizon Heritage a couple weeks ago for a bit before stuttering in the final rounds with a pair of 72s on Saturday and Sunday, following an opening score of 64. Cejka thought that the TPC Sawgrass of 2009 was playing a little bit friendlier than in year's past.
"What I remember in the past there was more rough," said Cejka, who was sporting a recently buzzed hair cut, via press conference. "When you missed the rough I always had a bad lie in this Bermudagrass. It's tough to hit the greens. But I played with Kevin Na. He hit it a couple of times just off the fairway into the rough, and he was still able to hit it on to the greens. So that makes it a little bit easier." Cejka opened with a 66 and was 5-under par through his first 15 holes in the second round.
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Cejka said he is still battling some lingering injuries, despite seeming to be better a few weeks ago at the Verizon. "I had a problem a couple of weeks ago in The Masters week," said Cejka, who had surgery in 2008. "I woke up and I had a numb arm. I had a pinched nerve again. It just shot in my arm. So the last couple of weeks it was really, really bad. And last week I had to get like an epidural shot. It's getting a little bit better. The numbness is gone for most of it, but not a hundred percent. It can take two weeks, two months, they don't know. The nerve is healing not so easy."