Players Championship: Xander Schauffele leads Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick in contention

Xander Schauffele produced a stunning bogey-free third round to open a one-shot lead heading into Sunday’s finale of the 50th Players Championship.

The American hit seven birdies in a 65 that saw him overhaul halfway leader Wyndham Clark’s four-shot advantage and finish on 17 under par at Sawgrass.

Clark is 16 under after a scrappy 70 while Open champion Brian Harman is 15 under after a superb 64.

Matt Fitzpatrick had six birdies in his final 10 holes to get to 13 under.

No English player has won the Players Championship but the 2022 US Open champion had a sensational back nine to keep himself in contention.

“I am massively proud and really really happy,” Fitzpatrick said on Sky Sports.

His challenge looked to be fading on the front nine after he dropped two shots on the par-four fourth for the second successive day and a bogey on the sixth meant he slipped to seven under.

But birdies on the ninth and 10th holes lifted the Yorkshireman and he knocked in four more in his closing five holes.

“I have been trying to work on my attitude this week and I knew I have been playing well over the past two days. That helped me as I felt like could turn it around,” he added.

On how he will approach the final day, he joked: “If I can play better on the fourth hole, that will probably be a good start.”

Scottie Scheffler is also still in with a shout of becoming the first player to win successive Players titles, carding a four-under 68 to be a shot behind Fitzpatrick despite playing with a neck injury.

The world number one, who took the unusual step of having physio during Friday’s second round, played with tape on his neck in round three and looked in discomfort at various points.

Number two-ranked Rory McIlroy was also in battling mode, after a level-par front nine.

Successive birdies on the 11th and 12th were cancelled out by a scruffy double bogey on the par-four 14th but the Northern Irishman finished on a high with three successive birdies from the 16th to card a 69 and nine-under total.

More to follow.

SOURCE: BBC Sport   (go to source)
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