Webb Simpson leads by seven at The Players


He and Spieth are 11 shots back of Webb Simpson (-19), who has been absolutely terrific for the first three rounds.

Who else stood out early in Day 3 of The Players Championship?

"I wish I could repeat it more often, but honestly it was just a better start", Woods said.

Tiger Woods was in the top 10 after shooting his lowest-ever round at The Players Championship, but an underwhelming back nine curtailed his hopes of a course record.

The 14-time major champion took advantage of continuing hot and humid conditions to match Jordan Spieth on eight-under par after 54 holes.

The 42-year old former long-time World No. 1 quickly lit-up the Florida course with four birdies in his opening five holes and had a huge crowd roaring with delight, and with the cheers being heard as far as the course vehicle parks.

He went into water on Par-5 16th but made par and again went into the water on the dreaded 17th's Island Green for a double bogey.

"Overall on the whole day I just hit a lot of quality shots and a 65 was probably the highest I could have shot".

"I'm going to just keep my head down and play my game", he said. But I wasn't close enough, I didn't hit the ball close enough and in the right - in a section... I'm trying to just look forward, do what I always do on a Saturday night of a golf tournament and get ready tomorrow morning. Simpson shot a 66 in the first round before rounds of 63 and 68 entering Sunday's final round. He has four top 10 finishes, but also missed a cut at the Genesis Open and also has finishes where he tied for 23rd and 55th.

Woods is a two-time victor (2001 and 2013), but it would take something really special on Sunday to get number three. Other than Simpson, few players were able to make any meaningful movements, as evidenced by the fact that when Woods signed his scorecard before the leaders had even teed off he was in eighth place.

Tiger Woods produced his best round since returning to PGA Tour action in January as he lit up the third day of The Players Championship.

"I'm thankful that I've put together a year of pretty solid putting, and it's really helped my golf kind of get me to the player that I want to be", Simpson said. It's yet more evidence that he's capable of flashes of brilliance only months after back surgery made simple daily tasks hard.

The 32-year-old, who has four PGA Tour victories, was as surprised as anyone with his score and said he would have been happy with Lee's 12-under total if he had been offered it before the start of the event.

But this is Simpson's show until further notice.