Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Simpson takes control at Players with 7-shot lead

Simpson takes control at Players with 7-shot lead

"I was just trying to shoot something in the mid-60s today, and managed to do it".

The chase pack is led by Danny Lee, who played perhaps the quietest round of the day - two birdies and 16 pars - to post 12 under.

Webb Simpson continued to dominate in Florida and will take a seven-shot lead into the final round of the Players Championship, Sky Sports report. Simpson then eagled the 11th when he holed out a 99-foot bunker shot.

At the 137-yard par-3 17th, Potter, Jr. hit a tee shot 136 yards at the green, setting himself up for the 17-foot putt for birdie.

Not to be outdone by groupmate Tiger, Mackenzie Hughes sinks this birdie on 8.

Woods fired his career-best round at Sawgrass and looked set to break the course record when he made his eighth birdie of the round at the 12th hole. And the 32-year-old Simpson has history on his side. Woods was outside the cut line until Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas each made bogey on the 18.

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The signs were not promising for McIlroy early on when he chunked a chip into a bunker at the second, although he made a good up-and-down for par which he repeated following a poor tee shot to the short third. He was in third place, nine shots behind and figured all he could do Sunday was go as low as he could and see where it led.

No one ever played a better round at the TPC Sawgrass than Webb Simpson. 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.

But then in yet another stroke of brilliance this week from the current World No. 41 as Simpson proceeded to hole his third shot for an eagle "3".

A trio of PGA champions - Jason Dufner (66), Jimmy Walker (70) and Jason Day (71) were at 9-under 207, along with Xander Schauffele (71).

"Obviously it all depends on how Webb finishes", Day said of his chances of a second Players title after his round.

"I think so; I haven't had a tournament yet where everything was really clicking like this", he said. He would play the rest of the round in one over, however, leaving a less-than-ideal taste after a round that looked like it would challenge the course record of 63.

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"Eventually I was going to put all the pieces together", said Woods. It also marked his lowest score of the season, his best since a 65 at the 2015 Wyndham Championship and his lowest score to par since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

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. Among the first-time players is Xander Schauffele, who won the Tour Championship a year ago. Spieth, a historically terrific putter, has actually struggled on the greens this year.

While Woods was burning up the front nine, Spieth turned in 2-under 34, but on the back nine, he had two hat-tricks of birdies.

The Woods-Spieth pairing, featuring two players who won the Masters as 21-year-olds, will be the second marquee pairing of the week for Woods.

But this is Simpson's show until further notice. The only questions were "how big would Simpson's lead be?" and "Who would get close to him?"

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