Holmes, Stanley top leaderboard heading into final round of Players Championship

Jonathan Hernandez
May 14, 2017

Notes: First-round co-leader Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot a 74 in the third round and is tied for 22nd at 216. You know, like I say, I've played well, and it's odd not to think about that I haven't won on United States soil.

Jon Rahm, of Spain, hits from the sand on the seventh hole during the second round of The Players Championship golf tournament Friday, May 12, 2017, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. After being medalist at Q School in 2005, Holmes finished 10th in his first PGA Tour event and won the following month at the 2006 FBR Open to become the fastest player at the time to reach $1 million in career earnings. (AP) - J.B. Holmes defied conventional wisdom on a most unconventional course, walking anything but the straight and narrow at the TPC Sawgrass until he wound up in a most unlikely place Saturday in The Players Championship.

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and American Kyle Stanley are a lot alike. Mother's Day, final group of The Players, it doesn't get much better than that.

"It was an adventurous day, for sure", Holmes said. He bogeyed three of his first four holes but managed a birdie on No. 2. For two players known more for their distance off the tee than precision, they were clutch wedge shots under hard circumstances.

Oosthuizen (73) was at 8 under. Sergio Garcia is within four at 5-under as well.

Of 82 players in the third round, 49 made a double bogey or worse.

Stanley fired and 72 and Holmes a 70 with each making a birdie at the par-3 17th island green to stay one stroke ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen, who shot 73 to stand on 208.

JB Holmes spoiled an impressive round with bogeys on his final two holes to sit third overnight on seven under.

Emiliano Grillo had a 67 and was at 6-under 210, along with Poulter, who had the only bogey-free round.

"I grew up in the woods playing golf. today was just a throw-back to how I played junior golf". We've been over the years great finishes around this golf course and awful finishes.

Holmes only hit five of the course's 14 fairways but needed just 25 putts. Scott Piercy recorded the first-ever quintuple bogey nine on the par-4 fifth hole.

From the pine straw left of the 15th fairway, he managed to get it on the green and lagged beautifully from almost 60 feet. His drive on No. 14 sailed well right, the ones on Nos.

So many others wish they could have done the same.

Vijay Singh, the 54-year-old surprise of the tournament, poured in putts from everywhere until a three-putt on the 18th gave him a 68 and put him three behind. He saved par from the back bunker on the 18th hole on the Players Stadium Course for a 72.

Danny Willett withdrew after nine holes Friday due to a bad back. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jason Day of Australia are among those at 215. McIlroy shot 71 in the third round and was 1 under.

"The history about the tournament, the golf course, everything about it, you see it as another major week of golf", Oosthuizen said. "It doesn't matter how good you're feeling, you have to play really well", Grillo said.

"Everyone who's won one, you want to try and win a second", Oosthuizen said. And yet somehow, South African star Louis Oosthuizen has never won a PGA TOUR event on USA soil.

"When I went through that period and just struggled for a little bit - when the confidence goes, it just takes a little bit of - just takes a while to get it back", Stanley said after Round 3.

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