Webb Simpson lapping field at The Players


The Players Championship, the PGA Tour's unofficial "fifth major", features some of golf's biggest stars at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

Tiger Woods dominated the front nine while Jordan Spieth dominated the back nine to card 65 each to enter the top-10 even as Webb Simpson maintained the lead after third day at the "PLAYERS" Championship.

"I finally got off to a good start in birdieing the first couple of holes and I just kept it rolling from here", he said.

The three-time major victor did not miss an effort inside 15 feet and picked up 2.98 strokes putting on the field. Simpson couldn't miss putts he wasn't even trying to make, 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 15.

It was no surprise that Simpson, a student of history, had no interest in premature celebrations.

Simpson, who has not tasted Tour success since capturing a fourth title in late 2014, will not want reminding that in the four times he has made the Players cut, he has never bettered a third-round 74.

At 9-under through 54 holes the 2016 victor is a full 10 shots behind but is T4 on the leaderboard and just three strokes out of second place.

Some member's bounces have certainly gone Simpson's way this week, but his statistical dominance is every bit as impressive as those red numbers on the leaderboard.

Simpson had been five strokes clear of three players after his second-round 63.

After a tee shot at the 181-yard par-3 13th green, Hossler suffered from a tough three-putt after missing a putt from 8-feet for a par and finished with a bogey.

Lee hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation during a solid third round but only managed two birdies on the par 5s on the back nine to go to 12-under for the tournament, sitting in second on his own.

"These guys are going to go low today again", Woods predicted. - If it ain't over until the fat lady sings I can hear Brunhilde bellowing on my iTunes as the final round of the Players Championship approaches.

The psychology of holding a big lead is one that few golfers have solved.

However, Simpson who had seemingly made "everything" on day two then struggled somewhat in playing the three-hole stretch from the 14th to 16th in one-over. When the dust finally settled on a muggy day he was tied for ninth place.

Simpson had put his tee shot into the water there on Friday, making double bogey and missing out on setting the course record. One can only hope he continues the surge on Sunday, where patrons will wear pink in honor of Mother's Day. "I don't wish it on anybody, but it's hard to imagine how [Simpson] could play that bad and shoot 81".

"So it's a pretty good combination around this golf course". "It's going very, very well for him. You're going to need to do what Tiger did on that front side tomorrow; you're going to need to be 6 under through nine".

Johnson is among six players to lose a six-shot lead in the final round, last fall in Shanghai.

The world No 1 is one ahead of Jason Dufner, Xander Schauffele, Jimmy Walker and Jason Day, with Woods and Spieth back on eight under alongside leading English challengers Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood. It will take something special on Sunday afternoon for Johnson to have a real chance, and that won't be enough unless Simpson falters.