After 54 holes, Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth continue to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Kaymer shot even par to remain at 12-under and Spieth shot 1-under to join him. Kaymer made two bogeys and two birdies while Spieth inched closer with a birdie and another bogey-free round, for three in a row.
John Senden and Sergio Garcia had two of the best rounds of the day shooting 4-under and 3-under to get to 9-under. Given today’s scores, they are obviously within reach of the leaders if they come out flat.
The low round of the day, 5-under, belonged to three players: Francisco Molinari (T8), Ryan Moore (T13) and Brandt Snedeker (T13).
On the other end of the spectrum 82 players made the cut at even par, so there was a 54-hole cut at 2-under to pare the field size down to 71. Among those on the wrong side of the cut were: Ernie Els, Jonas Blixt, Stuart Appleby and Rickie Fowler, most done in with rounds in the high 70s due to the blustery winds.
Whoever pulls this off on Sunday will find himself with a veritable pot of gold:
- First is the $1.8 million winner’s purse
- A five-year exemption to the PGA Tour.
- A three-year exemption to the Masters
- A three-year exemption to the U.S. Open
- A three-year exemption to the British Open
- A one-year exemption to the PGA Championship
- Invitation to the 2015 winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions (Maui), the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (Firestone CC in Akron) and 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions (Shanghai)
The winner, of course, will not be thinking about all of that during the course of their round. The player who does will not be the winner if conventional wisdom prevails.
The winner will be engrossed with his caddie in plotting his way around the tricky TPC Sawgrass one shot at a time, complicated by more blustery winds, 10 to 15 miles per hour, and a 30% chance of showers in the morning and isolated thunderstorms just before the leaders tee off.
Kaymer and Spieth have the best chance of doing this because they both claimed to have had fun on the day and to have thoroughly enjoyed each others company. That could be worth two strokes all by itself. And there is just something enveloping and inspiring when two of the best players in the world are in full flight. But chasers are emboldened by their nothing-to-lose predicament where a three-stroke lead may not be enough.
As is true of each Sunday on the PGA Tour, it should make for an interesting day.