Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer share lead at The Players Championship
Jordan Spieth continued to avoid bogeys and shared the lead with Martin Kaymer entering Sunday’s final round of The Players Championship.
The Associated Press
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Jordan Spieth repeatedly pumped his fist when his 12-foot par putt dropped into the cup on the final hole, a clutch moment worthy of celebration for two reasons: It gave him a third straight bogey-free round at The Players Championship and a share of the lead with Martin Kaymer after three rounds.
Spieth was even more impressive when he got into trouble off the tee late in a demanding round. The 20-year-old Texan missed his last four fairways and saved par each time, giving him a 1-under-par 71 in increasingly tougher conditions at TPC Sawgrass.
German Kaymer (72) missed a par putt from about 10 feet on the 18th hole and joined Spieth at 12-under 204 for 54 holes.
John Senden (68) and Sergio Garcia (69) were tied for third place at 9 under.
Ryan Moore (67) of Puyallup was tied for 13th place at 5 under and Kevin Chappell (75), who owns a home in Kirkland, was tied for 37th at 1 under.
Kyle Stanley (76) of Gig Harbor and former Washington Huskies player Richard H. Lee (76) were among the players tied for 68th place at 2 over.
Not since Greg Norman won The Players in 1994 has anyone played the opening three rounds of the event without a bogey. Then again, Spieth has shown over the last year he is capable of remarkable feats.
“I didn’t play with him the first two days, but there were a couple today where you think it’s a tough one to save par, and he always pulled it off,” Kaymer said. “If it wasn’t a brilliant chip, it was a good putt. So it’s very tough to beat those guys that don’t make mistakes. ... Seems like he doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Kaymer, a former No. 1 player in the world, hasn’t won a tournament since he took a European Tour event in November 2011.
“It’s very important that you enjoy the day,” the 29-year-old Kaymer said. “It’s a rare opportunity that you’re in the leading group in one of the biggest tournaments we play all year.”
For Spieth, the final group has become familiar territory. He has contended on the weekend in four tournaments already this season, and last month had a two-shot lead with 11 holes to play in the Masters until he finished in a tie for second behind winner Bubba Watson.
“Augusta left me feeling a little hungry for it again, and here we are,” Spieth said. “And I have an opportunity to kind of really draw back on that round and the positives, the negatives and everything in between and go out there tomorrow and try and play the same way I played the first two rounds.”
Including play at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Spieth has a streak of 69 holes without a bogey. The issue is whether he can keep it going as the pressure increases.
“I was all over the place,” Spieth said. “In order to win, I’m going to have to drive the ball better. Today I got the breaks, got the bounces, and made the 3- and 4-footers to stay alive. I’m not going to be able to keep doing that.”
• U.S. Open champion Justin Rose was penalized two shots on the 18th hole when his ball moved slightly as he prepared to hit a chip shot.
Rose went from a 71 to a 73, dropping him into a tie for 13th at 5 under. He received a one-shot penalty for causing the ball to move at address (Rule 18-2b) and another for not replacing the ball.
Rose said he saw something when he grounded his sand wedge behind the ball, quickly backing away. But the grass is uneven, and Rose didn’t think the ball moved. A close look at the video showed the ball moved a fraction of an inch.