Webb Simpson runs lead to The Players Championship record 7 strokes

Webb Simpson runs lead to The Players Championship record 7 strokes

Simpson flirted with the course record until he found the water at the notorious par-three 17th hole as he became the seventh player in Players Championship history to shoot a 63. It added to a 19-under 197, the score Norman had after three rounds in 1994 on a rain-softened course.

Should a miracle chase down from Lee on Simpson's seven-shot lead occur, he would become the first Kiwi since Craig Perks in 2002 to win the Players Championship.

He hardly missed anything all day except the island green on No. 17. It was a huge confirmation of his overall play, and it came 24 hours after he hit the ball in the water on that famous hole.

Despite his position, Simpson said he saw room for improvement. "And I didn't quite have the shape, ball flight".

Compatriot Patrick Cantlay (68), South African Charl Schwartzel (66) and Danny Lee of New Zealand (66) are in second. Dustin Johnson, who shared the first round lead with Simpson, among others, is alone in third, nine shots back.

The 42-year-old Woods added birdies at the 11th and 12th but that was it for his charge, with a bogey at the 14th.

Fan favorite Tiger Woods garnered most, if not all, the attention while Spieth was shooting a 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday.

He answered questions from the media in a press conference after his round, per the Golf Channel broadcast. Over the whole day I hit a lot of quality shots - 65 was probably as high as I could have shot today, which was nice. "I couldn't imagine if I would have had 50 attempts again from where I was where I would make double, but I managed to do it right there, so it's a shame". Today was a little more of about survival. It's just a matter of playing and executing.

"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.

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Tiger Woods settled for a one-under 71 and then endured an anxious afternoon wait before knowing he had made the cut. He birdied 16, 17 and 18. He punctuated it with a long par putt at the last hole and seemed to be one of the only golfers going anywhere on moving day. I think that part of the game is a mystery. "He's clearly playing some tremendous golf and we're the best players in the world and he's making us not look so good". This was really solid today with the putter inside 15 feet, and that just makes you more comfortable.

That pushed his lead over the rest of the field to a preposterous eight strokes, but it shrank slightly coming home.

In a six-way tie for the lead at the start of Friday's play, Simpson carded a stunning nine-under-par 63 to move clear in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

They will play together on Sunday in a pairing that should draw bigger crowds than Simpson and Lee.

T4. Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel (-9): Dufner pretty easily had the best day out of anyone in this group with a 6-under 66, but it's hard to see anyone here running down Simpson from 10 back and beating Johnson by a pair.

Here's a link to all the tee times for Sunday's final round.

Johnson - like Norman - is among six players to have lost a six-shot lead in the final round, doing so in Shanghai past year. And with danger lurking at every corner on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, that would suggest that the crystal and largest paycheck in golf - just shy of $2 million - doesn't belong to Simpson just yet.

The belief here is that Simpson is playing as well as he has at any time in his career.

Look for Johnson to have a strong finishing round. He made the cut on the number (1-under 143) after a 71 in the easier morning conditions.

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