After 3 rounds of play, Webb Simpson leads The Players Championship by 7 heading into the final round- tying the 54-hole record for the tournament. Simpson began with a 66 on Thursday before firing a 9-under 63, which included a double bogey on the Island Green 17th that would have given him the course record had he made par (he rattled off 6 straight birdies heading into 17). Simpson maintained his lead Saturday, shooting a 2-under 34 on the front 9 before holing out from 99 feet out of a back sand trap on the 11th hole for eagle. He finished with a 4-under 68 on the day and is -19 for the tournament. He has a 7 shot lead over Australian Danny Lee (-12), and world #1 Dustin Johnson holds on to solo 3rd at -10. Simpson has dominated nearly every statistical category this week. He’s tied with Jason Dufner (T4) and CT Pan (T63) for first in driving accuracy at nearly 81%. He trails only Henrik Stenson (T16) in greens in regulation at 83%, including going 14/18 on GIR Saturday. Simpson is also 2nd in putting this week (1.556), only Harold Varner III has bested him at 1.485. Lee and Simpson will tee off in the last group Sunday afternoon at 2:45pm. Brandon Harkins will lead the way at 9am, with notable players in the early groups, including Jon Rahm (9:05am), Brooks Koepka (9:15am) and Sergio Garcia (10:25am).
Though longshots to contend, one of the highlight pairings in the afternoon will be Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth at 2:05pm. The duo each struggled in the beginning half of the week, with Woods going 72-71 in his elite threesome with Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson (who both missed the cut) and Spieth shooting a terrible Thursday 75 before just making the cut with a 68 on Friday. Woods and Spieth both played their best Saturday, each shooting 65s (Saturday’s lowest score) to move them into the top-10. Woods was -8 through 12 holes before finishing 1-over on his final 6 holes. Spieth made 9 birdies on Saturday, going 34 and 31 up 59 spots in one day. They’re joined at T9 (-8) with Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter, as well as Americans Harold Varner III, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Cantlay.
Coverage of the final round will begin with lead-in coverage on the Golf Channel from 9am to 2pm. From 2pm to the final green NBC will be in charge, with radio listeners also being able to tune in to PGA Tour Radio from 1-7pm. Stay tuned into The Wrightway Network for final round results and the preview report for next week’s AT&T Byron Nelson at Great Trinity Forest in Dallas, Texas from May 17th to the 20th.