Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Oosthuizen, Stanley share lead at Players Championship

Oosthuizen, Stanley share lead at Players Championship

It was anything but elementary for J.B. Holmes who despite wild inaccuracy off the tee used a sizzling short game to tie fellow American Kyle Stanley for the lead after the third round at The Players Championship in Florida on Saturday.

Both players moved onto nine-under par and they now sit two shots clear of JB Holmes who sits alone in third. That was one shot ahead of Louis Ooosthuizen of South Africa and two clear of Si Woo Kim of South Korea after a wild, often freakish Players third round that may find its equal during a final round in which high wind from an entirely opposite direction is in the forecast.

Louis Oosthuizen fired a flawless 66 to earn a share of the halfway lead with Kyle Stanley at The Players Championship as Vijay Singh rolled back the years at TPC Sawgrass. Two weeks ago, Poulter wasn't even in the field and no longer had full status until the PGA Tour realized it made a clerical error related to his return from a foot injury. Holmes has won four Tour titles and hits a golf ball as far as anyone not named Dustin Johnson. Holmes opened with 10 straight pars before circling 11 and 12. He hit a blind shot from 230 yards into the wind, landing the ball in a bunker, but managed to get up-and-down to limit the damage, which is what Saturday at TPC Sawgrass was all about. His round was the only one of the day without a bogey, and his streak of holes without dropping a shot is now at 28.

From the pine straw left of the 15th fairway, he managed to get it on the green and lagged beautifully from almost 60 feet. A disastrous drive on the 14th looked like it would rob him of the momentum, but he fought for an extraordinary bogey.

"It's a hard course, and any errant swings will lead to not a good score", Mickelson said.

So many others wish they could have done the same.

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The three-time major champion, whose last PGA Tour victory was at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2008, missed great chances from inside 10 feet at 16 and 17, and his unfortunate finish took a little gloss off one of his best days in recent years at his home course.

Holmes, a four-times PGA Tour victor, found places at the TPC Sawgrass previously untrodden by man, yet somehow managed only one bogey in a two-under-par 70, on an afternoon that started breezy but fell calm over the final hour or so.

Most of the big names are out of contention, with the notable exception of Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who shot 67 to move within four shots of the lead.

And although he did birdie the ninth for the third day running, birdies on the 16th and 17th were cancelled out by bogeys on the 14th and 18th. He made three bogeys on the back nine and then, torn between a 9-iron and a wedge on the 17th, he opted for a wedge to make sure it didn't go over the back of the island.

Former Players Championship victor Adam Scott (71) is lurking at 3 under, two ahead of defending champion Jason Day (73) and Rory McIlroy (71). "It doesn't matter who you are".

"You just kind of have to remind yourself that even though you're a little bit over par, on the leaderboard I was still in a pretty good spot", Stanley said. Stanley is making his fourth start, where has made three of four cuts. You never really quite know when it's going to show up or pay off.

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