Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Webb Simpson takes a commanding lead into the final round at the 2018 Players Championship, although several stars are lurking at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, after strong Saturday performances.
Both Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth survived the first two rounds to just make the cut. On Day 3, they each put themselves right in the thick of things with seven-under 65s.
Below is an updated look at the standings following Saturday’s action.
The Players Championship Leaderboard—3rd Round
1. Webb Simpson 68 (-19)
2. Danny Lee 70 (-12)
3. Dustin Johnson 69 (-10)
T4 Jason Dufner 66 (-9)
T4. Jimmy Walker 70 (-9)
T4. Xander Schauffele 71 (-9)
T4. Jason Day 71 (-9)
T4. Charl Schwartzel 73 (-9)
T9. Jordan Spieth 65 (-8)
T9. Tiger Woods 65 (-8)
T9. Tommy Fleetwood 68 (-8)
T9. Ian Poulter 69 (-8)
T9. Harold Varner III 70 (-8)
T9. Matt Kuchar 71 (-8)
T9. Patrick Cantlay 74 (-8)
*Full leaderboard can be viewed at the official website of the PGA Tour.
Woods had consistently hovered around par during the first two days of the tournament, posting a 72 and a 71. On this day, though, he quickly made it clear that he was ready to play.
He started the day on fire, nabbing birdies on four of the first five holes:
While he was not able to keep up that pace all day, he did pile up a total of eight birdies:
He cooled off on the back nine, shooting one over on the final six holes. By that point, though, he had already surged up the leaderboard.
The 42-year-old managed to post his lowest score (65) ever for a round at The Players Championship:
Given his storied career, that is no easy feat to be setting personal bests at this point.
Afterward, Woods discussed his performance:
“I finally got off to a good start. I birdied the first couple of holes and I just kept it rolling from there,” Woods said, per PGATour.com’s Ben Everill.
Not to be forgotten, Spieth was also busy on moving day. He got off to a rough start to the tournament, shooting a 75 on Thursday, but a 68 on Day 2 helped him stay alive. The 24-year-old would carry the momentum into Day 3 as he made a charge.
Spieth tallied nine birdies, including six on the back nine. That helped him overcome a pair of bogeys to help him move into contention.
Like Woods, it was a day unlike any other before for Spieth at the Players Championship:
He noted that the hole he dug himself gave him a chance to play loose.
“I felt free. I came out feeling good and playing aggressively,” Spieth said, per BBC Sport. “When you are 14 back on a Saturday morning, there’s not a whole lot of pressure.”
Of course, Woods and Spieth weren’t the only ones on the course on Saturday.
Simpson continued to stretch his lead after a record-tying 63 on Friday. Three birdies on the front nine got him off to a solid start, but it was an eagle on 11 that really gave him a boost:
With 18 holes to play, Simpson holds a seven-stroke lead as he looks to wrap up his fifth career PGA Tour victory.
Meanwhile, Jason Dufner made some noise with a six-under behind the strength of five birdies on the back nine:
He has now improved by exactly three strokes with each passing round. With a 66, he now finds himself tied for fourth.
Simpson takes a comfortable lead into the final day, but as Woods, Spieth and Dufner showed, a lot can change over the course of 18 holes. With everything on the line on Sunday, there promises to be drama as The Players Championship wraps up—especially with Woods and Spieth playing together.