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Scott six back as Holmes, Stanley lead Players

Scott frustrated at times today despite putting improvement (Photo: Getty Images)
J.B Holmes, Kyle Stanley, Louis Oosthuizen and Si Woo Kim were hardly amongst the favourites starting the week at the Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida but the quartet now hold the leading four positions as the event heads into tomorrow’s final round.

Holmes and Stanley lead by one over Oosthuizen with Kim another shot further back but another eight players are within five shots of the lead and given the vagaries of the TPC layout all are at least chances chances to take the title tomorrow.

Adam Scott leads the Australians at 3 under and six from the lead although that is likely now a bridge too far. Scott began the day with a bogey when he went a little long with his approach and could not get up and down. He would, however, work his way back into the tournament and at one stage was within four of the lead.

The hole that would perhaps make the biggest impact on his chances however may well have been the 16th where he missed the fairway right with his tee shot and was forced to lay up. He then hit his third from just 120 yards into the left bunker and failed to get up and down.

The bogey there, where many were recording birdie, along with a very good missed opportunity at the last may well prove costly in the final countdown tomorrow for Scott as not only is he six behind but he has twelve classy players ahead of him. So even if he is able to produce something special in tomorrow’s final round he needs some help from many others.

"Yeah, I have some work to do tomorrow, but it was a good round of golf," said Scott. "I didn't play my way out of the tournament, I'm just going to need one of those great rounds tomorrow. Go out and post something, I don't know how windy's it's going to be, but I need it not quite this windy, you need to be able to play a little bit.

"It's hard to really get it going when it's as blustery as it is now. So if I can get off to a quick start it will be nice to put myself in the mix, but it was nice to play solid today in this wind, relatively stress free."

"I can't rely on the other guys messing up, I have to rely on me playing really good. Par-5s have kind of killed me this week and I'm looking to play them good tomorrow and that's one of the few ways to have a really good round is to hit a good shot at the right time and make an eagle and get things going.

"I'm not trying to win (it) for the first time. But I'm way back, so there's no pressure on me. A good round out here early goes a long way. If you get it in the clubhouse leading, it's hard to close out here. So if I do play well tomorrow I've got that going for me, I don't have that kind of last group pressure and it will be nice to make a bit of a run and get myself into the mix.

"So I'm looking for some good stuff, a few fireworks out there tomorrow and I think the game's in good enough shape to take it on, if I can get it in position."

Defending champion Jason Day’s round was a roller coaster. Two early birdies gave hope to him challenging for the lead but then came four dropped shots in the next three holes. He recovered early in his back nine with three straight birdies from the 10th but then came another double bogey at the dangerous 13th when he found the water from the tee and any remotes hopes of a successful defence were all but extinguished.

Aaron Baddeley and Rod Pampling were the two other Australians to make the cut but they are now well back after rounds of 76 and 74 respectively.  

Of the leaders, Holmes has missed three of his last four cuts in this event and Stanley, who has not played the event since 2014, has a best of 33rd in three players.

Of the leaders Holmes has missed three of his last four cuts in this event and Stanley, who has not played the event since 2014, has a best of 33rd in three Players Championships.

Holmes, though,has been playing solidly this season, albeit without contending, having made fourteen of his last fifteen cuts and Stanley has missed only two of his last 16 cuts so both have been playing well without setting the world on fire thus far in 2017. Tomorrow could change all of that.

Of the leading ten world ranked players in the field, only Sergio Garcia is inside the top 19 players heading into the final round, making the outcome tomorrow even less predictable. Garcia’s round of 67 today moved him some 36 places on day three. After an outward nine of 40 on Thursday it has been a remarkable come-back for the Masters Champion and he has a chance of adding a second Players Championship to his CV.



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