Whew, I’m exhausted! We have a stacked leaderboard after a long, fun day of third-round golf at TPC Sawgrass. Jon Rahm nearly tied the course record and leads after 54 holes over an elite collection of the best ball-strikers in the world. I don’t know that I’d expect anything else in a great field like this one, but this year seems to have produced one of the better Saturday evening boards I can remember.
Here’s a look at the top 10.
1. Jon Rahm (-15): The Spaniard was 1 under on the day through eight holes on Saturday … and then he lost his mind. He played the final 10 in 7 under and had one of the great tee-to-green days in recent Players Championship history. (He also gained over five of his strokes from tee to green on approach shots.) Rahn had a putt on No. 18 to tie the course record of 63 and the back nine record of 29. He didn’t make it, but an 8-under 64 will have him in the final pairing on Sunday afternoon. As NBC noted, he’s now show in the 80s, 70s and 60s in his three third rounds at TPC Sawgrass.
T2. Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood (-14): This pair played the first two holes in a collective 3 over after sleeping on the 36-hole co-lead. They responded valiantly though as Fleetwood shot a 32 on the back, and McIlroy made four birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way. The end tally was 70s for both golfers, and what could have been a disastrous third day turned into a fine setup for the finale on Sunday.
Fleetwood has hung in there today, tournaments come down to your worst stretch as much as your best.
— the fried egg (@the_fried_egg) March 16, 2019
4. Jason Day (-12): The Australian is 6 for 8 on putts from 10-15 feet this week, which covers over a multitude of sins. Day didn’t even play the par 5s well on Saturday (one birdie in four tries), but he just refused to make any bogeys after the first hole. Now he has a shot at his second Players in the last four years.
5. Abraham Ancer (-11): Ancer had a day similar to that of Fleetwood. He went out in 37 but then birdied the first three on the back nine to shoot a 33 on the back. Now he’s in position for the best finish of his life. Ancer leads hasn’t putted at all but leads the field in birdies this week with 19. He might need about 10 more on Sunday to chase down the four guys ahead of him.
T6. Ollie Schniedarjans, Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Brian Harman (-10): This group was a collective 23 under on Saturday, which means we’re probably unlikely to see one of them pull off a back-to-back effort in the low 60s and the win on Sunday. Johnson actually looked like he was going to stomp his feet late, but he parred the easy 16th and missed a short birdie putt on the par-3 17th. He’ll likely need an all-timer on Sunday for his first Players win.
Also, I should note that we almost got an all-time moment from Furyk on No. 18 on Saturday as he almost chose to take a full swing on this ball (which would have resulted in him falling in the water).
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