Schwartzel, Cantlay tied for early lead at Players

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. But right now it feels like as impressive as Woods and Spieth's third rounds were, they'll be footnotes at golf's unofficial fifth major. But they made up only three shots on Simpson and were 11 shots behind.

With 80 players making the cut at the Players, the field with be trimmed after 54 holes for the second time in two weeks on the PGA Tour.

While Woods has shown signs of his old self in his seven-plus tournaments this year, he has struggled to string good rounds together.

"My last two years, maybe even two and a half years, have been pretty frustrating", he said, adding that he was now using an instructor for the first time in his career. Different feeling today. A little more survival feeling. "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". Given how Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, has played thus far, the Woods-Spieth duo, which will be an actual pairing in the final round Sunday, will have a lot more ground to cover Sunday.

Danny Lee was leading the B-Flight with a bogey-free round of 70, but with birdies only on the two par 5s on the back nine. On that hole, he stewed over what to hit, decided on a sand wedge, then saw it hit on the wood fronting the green, bounce to the back and then roll cruelly into the water.

Subsequent birdies on holes seven and nine, with no dropped shots, leaves the legendary Floridian just three shots back of the tie for second place, with the course record of 63 now in serious jeopardy if Woods can maintain his momentum over the back nine. He finished the day with a par putt from 18 feet.

Simpson had it going so well, particularly on the greens, where he took just 23 putts, he said his playing partners, Jhonattan Vegas and Tyrell Hatton, "were laughing" at him.

The best scores in the third round came from Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, who each carded 65s to climb from just off the cutline to into a tie for ninth at 208, 11 shots off Simpson's lead.

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The pair were in a group of seven players on eight under, including English pair Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood. Holing a few putts, though, left me delighted - especially after the frustrations of the first round.

Woods shot a 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday, besting his previous low score on the Stadium Course by a stroke.

Woods admitted that after reaching 8 under through 12 holes, he felt a course-record 62 was within reach.

"So I'm going to go out with the utmost confidence tomorrow to try and get off to a good start and make some noise".

"I've played this course over 700 times in my life", said Paul, who lives in Nocatee with Michelle and their 4 1/2-year-old son Isaiah. He drove onto the 12th green to 10 feet for eagle. He birdied the 11th and, ultimately, the 18th.

"I'm going to just keep my head down and play my game", he said. Simpson is in the territory whereby conceding this tournament would be wounding enough were it not the PGA Tour's flagship event.

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  • Tabitha Byrd