Webb Simpson, the soft-spoken father of four with the salt-and-pepper beard who doesn't exactly have the look of a man accustomed to stepping on the throats of fellow competitors, carved up TPC Sawgrass for the third consecutive day on his way to a commanding seven-stroke advantage over Danny Lee. - After a sleepy 72-71 start saw Tiger Woods squeak by the 36-hole cut at the Players Championship, Woods remained optimistic as ever.
After making the cut on the number, Tiger Woods went out early on Saturday morning and shot a 7-under 65. He rolled in birdies on each of the opening two holes, with another four following on four, five, seven and nine. He finished the day tied for ninth place.
World No. 62 Charl Schwartzel stumbled to a 1-over-par 37-36=73 in the third round of THE PLAYERS, dropping three spots into a five-way T4 on 9-under 207, a distant 10 in arrears of 54-hole leader and playing competitor Webb Simpson, who shot 68. Woods was outside the cut line until Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas each made bogey on the 18.
"I didn't get off to the start I wanted to", Woods said after the round.
"I played a lot of good shots out there today and it was nice to see a few putts go in".
"I hope he doesn't putt too well with that thing up the arm or they'll ban that next", joked Adam Scott, who has also dealt with his share of putting demons since the anchoring ban.
"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". I think I'm nearly there, hitting the ball better.
"To be 8-under there through 12, realistically I probably could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 for the day", he said.
Hughes, 27, said he grew up watching and idolizing Woods, and it was a thrill to be paired with him. The whole day I hit a lot of quality shots and 65 was probably as high as I could have shot, which was kind of nice.
But Woods even threatened to beat the course record of 63 at one stage of his round. "But I can assure you, for me it was goosebumps and shivers out there hearing all the noise and playing with him".
On the momentum building, Spieth said, "Yeah, especially with the putter". On the last hole we had 196 and it was just a nine-iron. His 6-under 30 front nine was his best 9-hole score at the Championship and raised visions of a 59, just like it did when Simpson was on a roll on Friday.
"When I missed a birdie chance I wasn't very disappointed", he said. I think I was flawless inside of 10 to 15 feet today and anywhere inside, which was probably the first time this year.
Tiger Woods at least gets to return on the weekend.
He just hasn't shown any signs of cracking. "I've been trying so hard this week, try to go low tomorrow". "He's the only one that's going really low".
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