Simpson seven clear as Woods and Lowry find form

Simpson seven clear as Woods and Lowry find form

Shane Lowry produced another fine putting performance as Tiger Woods made a move and Webb Simpson extended his lead to a 54-hole record seven strokes at The Players.

The Clara man (31) made 103-feet of putts, rolling in five between 10 and 27 feet at TPC Sawgrass en route to a 69 that moved him up 26 spots to 42nd on four-under par.

He's just four shots outside the top 10 on a packed leaderboard which is topped by the indomitable Simpson, who added a 68 to his course-record equalling 63 to lead on 19-under from Danny Lee with world No 1 Dustin Johnson alone in third on nine-under.

Simpson needs to shoot 67 on Sunday to tie Greg Norman’s record-low winning aggregate of 24-under 264. 

He's also on track to beat Steve Elkington record seven-shot winning margin set in 1997

“I feel like I’m playing good, solid golf, but … I’ve holed out a few times from off the green and made some long putts,” Simpson said. “To get that score, you have to do that.”

He has enough margin to deal with traditionally firm and fast Sunday conditions but with so much water in play, the likes of Woods will be trying to exert as much early pressure as possible.

The 14-time major winner was dialled in with every aspect of his game early on Saturday, racing to eight under for his round through 12 holes before following a bogey at the 14th with four pars to sign for a 65

He's tied for ninth on eight under with Jordan Spieth (65), Tommy Fleetwood (68), Ian Poulter (69), Harold Varner III (70), Matt Kuchar (71) and Patrick Cantlay (74), just a stroke behind  Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel.

“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 after a personal-best front nine 30 at TPC Sawgrass.

“It was nice to see a few putts go in. I hit a lot of quality shots and 65 was probably as high as I could have shot today, which was kind of nice.”

On the Symetra Tour, Stephanie Meadow shot a third round 74 to share 26th with a round to go in the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Classic and lies six strokes behind leaders Dottie Ardina, Sweden's Jenny Haglund and Vicky Hurst on two-over.


In the PGA Tour Series - China, Cork's Brian O'Donovan tied for 22nd on two-over par, 12 strokes behind South Korea's Todd Baek, who shot 67 to win by two shots from Canada's Justin Shin and American Charlie Saxon on 12-under.