After a two hour weather delay on Saturday, the third round of the The Players Championship was called by darkness with eight players still on the TPC Sawgrass and led by Swede, David Lingmerth. A Web.com graduate, he leads a tough trio of Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and, uh, Tiger Woods. He leads by two at 12-under par and is 4-under on the day with one hole to play.
Lingmerth leads despite the fact that his first two rounds didn’t go that well in his mind even though he shot 68 both days:
Yeah, no, it’s been good. Obviously, thrilled to be in this position. It’s going to be a fun day [Sunday]. I played really solid all week. First day I was striking the ball really well and wasn’t able to make too many putts, and then the second round I was able to get my short game going pretty good. I wasn’t quite striking the ball that well. But today I was hitting the ball pretty good. I had a few misses out there and short‑sided myself a couple times, but I was able to make some putts and keep my round going, so feeling good.
And while he’s not ready to roll over for all the experience behind him, his eyes are clear as he looks at what the day will bring:
I’m aware of where they’re at. I try not to look at the leaderboard when I’m out there. I’m just trying to do my thing. But having those guys behind me, I know they’re going to try to hunt me down, of course. But I’m just going to try to forget about all that and just try to do my thing.
Henrik Stenson has the advantage of having won The Players Championship on the TPC Sawgrass, a course he really likes:
I think it’s a course I’ve always enjoyed playing. It’s a tough golf course, and if you do the right things you get the reward, and otherwise you’ve got to have a short game, and I just like this golf course.
And he plans to finish the third round and not change his strategy for the fourth:
It’s more down to me doing my stuff and staying mentally where I need to be and then committed to the shots, and it’s always like that when you come into the back nine. That’s when it’s going to be decided, and you might need to push a little bit or you’re hopefully in a good position already.
It’s hard to know how effective Sergio Garcia will be with 3½ holes to finish Sunday morning. He’s paired with Tiger Woods and apparently their 20-year feud got rekindled by Garcia’s sensitivities early in the round. Garcia thought that Woods prematurely pulling his club while Garcia was pulling the trigger on his shot was insensitive. The crowd got excited that Tiger was going for the par-5 in two and distracted Garcia. For his part, Woods said that the marshal told him that Garcia had already hit.
If you want all the sad details, you can read Ryan Lavner’s post at The Golf Channel. My point in raising Garcia’s tantrum is that his attention may be on that on Sunday rather than shutting out the outside world and just intently focusing on each shot. It’s hard to deal with useless remnants floating around in his mind too.
As for Woods, no surprise, he’s totally focused on the golf:
Well, this is a big event and conditions are tough, they’re tricky, and I’ve done well in big events, and I think that understanding how to play and how to play and manage my way around the golf course certainly helps.
Play resumes at 7:10 AM. They’ll be playing in twosomes again with the final round beginning at 8:35. The finishing order of players at the back of the field is already known so they’ll be off on time. When the last eight players have finished, their tee times will be plugged into the front of the field with the last pairing going off at 2:38 PM.