Simpson ties course record for Players lead

  • Simpson ties course record for Players lead

Simpson ties course record for Players lead

"It's a bummer but I wanted to play 18 pretty solid, just to end the day well, and I think I did that", said the four-time PGA Tour victor and 2012 U.S. Open champion from Wake Forest. Simpson simply couldn't miss, whether it was a 35-foot eagle putt on his second hole or a 30-foot birdie putt up the slope and into the cup on the 15th.

The ball hit the wooden frame on the front of the green, caromed high in the air and landed on the back of the green with so much momentum that it rolled through the light collar of rough and disappeared into the water.

And a par at the last meant Simpson had to be satisfied with becoming the seventh player to shoot 63 in the Players Championship, the 32-year-old's 15 under par total also equalling the 36-hole scoring record.

Still, shooting 65 on a golf course where disaster is never far away is an encouraging sign for a player who, just eight short months ago, didn't know whether he'd be able to compete on Tour ever again.

"If I can keep the right tempo going, I'm going to keep hitting good shots", said the 33-year-old, who has won only twice in 173 starts on the PGA Tour, most significantly the 2011 US Masters. He then hit two flawless shots and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 9 for a front-nine 30 that sent a palpable jolt through Sawgrass.

Lee was at 204, a score that would have led The Players in all but three of the years since it moved to May in 2007. "I said, 'yeah, have another beer.' Then I looked at the scorecard". He pinned his first approach shot eight feet from the hole, made the birdie putt and was off to the races from there.

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

After making the cut on the number, Tiger Woods went out early on Saturday morning and shot a 7-under 65. "After what happened yesterday on 17, I wanted to play a good solid hole and I did that". He'll enter Sunday with an even bigger lead. "Nineteen under, that's an impressive three rounds, I think". He was in range of the course record that eluded Simpson on Saturday. Woods, now in a tie for ninth at 8 under, is looking for his third top-5 finish of the year.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Simpson's bunker shot. He shot 71 and missed by two shots. "We were talking about it throughout the round, all three of us". 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.

Spieth teed off about an hour before Woods and did not start as spectacularly.

Simpson left them all in his wake.