Round 3 at Sawgrass - Simpson Seven Ahead
The third round of the 2018 Players Championship saw a surprising amount of energy and drive emerging across the field. At times it was electrifying. Tiger Woods had just slipped through the cut into this round and teed off early in the day. Fans were out in full force and he did not disappoint them. He shot eight birdies in the first 12 holes before hitting a bogey. Before the afternoon began he had roared back up the leaderboard by 60 places to tie at eighth on 11-under 208 total, his 7-under par 65 round a career best at Sawgrass.
Through the afternoon Jordan Spieth followed suit, similarly climbing 60 spots on the leaderboard and sharing Woods' position.
However no one got close to Webb Simpson who maintained his magic touch through this game, closing with 4-under 65 and bringing his total to 19-under 197 and equalling the three-round record set by Greg Norman in 1994. Simpson is seven strokes ahead of New Zealander Danny Lee on 14-under 204. As no one in the history of the PGA Tour has ever lost the lead from a seven stroke advantage at the third round, Simpson's victory seems to be all over, cut and dried.
Others in the field however still have much to strive for. Jason Day presently shares fourth spot on 9-under. Day is not fazed by Simpson's domination of the game.
"The end goal is to get back to No.1," Day said. "If Webb runs away with it, there's still second place. It sucks to be second at times, but I've got to keep chipping away at it because they are all stepping stones to the bigger picture."
Similarly Adam Scott, who is on 7-under (as is Marc Leishman), is aiming to improve his world ranking. He hopes to get back into the top 60 so that he can qualify for the US Open. To get there he would probably need to finish among the top ten at the Players Championship.