Players Championship: Webb Simpson leads by five at TPC Sawgrass

Webb Simpson has taken complete charge

Webb Simpson has taken complete charge

At 19 under par following a third-round 68 on a Stadium Course that was much more user friendly than many expected it to be, Simpson's 54-hole advantage is the largest in Players Championship history.

He started out with an 8-foot birdie putt on the opening hole.

Simpson was on the verge of smashing the course record after reeling off six straight birdies but came to grief at the island-green par-three 17th. He tapped in for birdie.

Webb Simpson entered Moving Day with a five-shot lead at 15 under.

Both players, who made the cut on the number Friday at 1 under, finished their rounds Saturday tied for eighth at 8-under 208 - with just less than two hours to go before leader Webb Simpson was to tee off.

With a 19-under total of 197, former US Open victor Simpson matched Norman's 1994 effort.

Woods picked up another shot at the ninth to turn in just 30, and he then birdied 11 and 12 to vault into the top 10 - eight under for the round and in with a great chance to break the course-record of 63.




"I felt more comfortable driving the ball and being a little more aggressive off the tees and getting it down there, squeezing it around some of these corners and consequently I had a lot of nine-irons on down".

Tiger Woods made the cut after a 71, while a fine 68 from Shane Lowry with five birdies and just one dropped shot helped the Offaly man make the weekend.

"I was pretty satisfied", Simpson told Todd Lewis of Golf Channel.

Australia's Jason Day was unable to reel in Simpson but a 71 left the 2016 champion at TPC Sawgrass sharing fourth at nine under. I'm sure he was nervous playing that hole. So it just shows you where it actually matters and that's on the greens. As of post time, Simpson retained the lead, chased by Ian Poulter, Danny Lee, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner.

"I played a lot of good shots out there today and it was nice to see a few putts go in". Alex Noren (69), Charles Howell III (67) and Chesson Hadley (69) are tied at 9-under and 2016 Players champion Jason Day (67), PGA Tour Champions member Steve Stricker (69) and 2017 Tour Championship victor Xander Schaffele (68) are at 8-under. The only questions were "how big would Simpson's lead be?" and "Who would get close to him?"

I had questions going into Saturday after Simpson built his lead mostly with his putter and short game.

"Eventually I was going to put all the pieces together and today for the most part I did that", said Woods. It was a particularly tough finish for the Englishman, who has a pair of runner-up finishes at The Players and knows as well as anyone how uphill the climb can be when you're trying to play catch-up on a Sunday.

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