Historically, there is no such thing as “moving day” at the Players Championship. You merely hope to survive long enough to give yourself a chance on Sunday. But the past 12 months have been no ordinary year. And the early markings at TPC Sawgrass Saturday morning show that moves can be made.
Though the leaders don’t go off for another hour, there is plenty of red on the Players scoreboard. Cam Smith, who made the cut on the number, turned in a seven-under 65. Harry Higgs and Adam Long, both who came in at even par, posted 67s and Lanto Griffin wasn’t far behind with a 68. Justin Thomas started out with four straight birdies to get to six under and three back of the lead. Things are happening.
Everyone is chasing Lee Westwood, as the 47-year-old sits atop at nine under. Fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick is paired with Westwood in the final group at minus eight. Chris Chrik Kirk and Sergio Garcia are at seven, and a certain beefy golfer who won at Bay Hill last week is in shouting distance.
Of course, what makes Sawgrass a beautiful beast is the good can turn bad in two winks of a coal miner’s eye and vice versa, which is why we’ll be here Saturday afternoon to guide you through Round 3 of the 2021 Players Championship.
(Scroll down for the latest updates)
Live updates from the Players (all times eastern):
1:49 p.m.: Now that’s how you start! Brian Harman holes out from the fairway on the first for eagle, going from six to eight under. That is getting it done.
1:41 p.m.: Charley Hoffman, playing with Bryson, birdies the first to get to seven under while Bryson gets up-and-down just off the green for par. Casey birdies the fourth to get to three under on his round, also in the in the seven-under pack. No idea what the over/under on scoring average was, but really, really wished I would have taken the under.
1:34 p.m.: Spieth cleans up on the 18th for a four-under 68. Justin Thomas nearly dunks his approach at the par-4 10th to move to five under on his day and two back of Westwood. Bryson DeChambeau gets his round started with a strong drive in the fairway at the first. And if that seems scattered, we were thrown off by Dan Hicks calling the 17th “the most photographed hole in the world.” Think the 18th at St. Andrews and 13th at Augusta National might have something to say about that.
1:24 p.m.: We jinxed Spieth, who bailed out left with his drive and put his approach way over the green. We blame ourselves. (He would put his chip to six feet to give himself a chance at par.) On the other side, Paul Casey eagles the second to get to six under.
1:15 p.m.: Mentioned above, guys are going low. It’s a nice day with not much wind, and the pin locations are certainly gettable … wrapping up, Jordan Spieth makes birdie at the par-3 17th to move to four under on his day, jumping nearly 30 spots on the board.
1:05 p.m.: Justin Thomas is en fuego. After starting with four birdies, Thomas took a bogey at the fifth. But he bounced back with a par then made another birdie from 60 feet at the seventh, putting Thomas back in the mix. It’s been a rough year on and off the course for Thomas. A good day could right his season’s course.