Holmes, Stanley share lead at Players Championship

By Doug Ferguson

The Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — 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.

He was tied for the lead with Kyle Stanley.

Holmes didn’t hit a fairway over his last six holes on the wind-swept Players Stadium Course, including one that was so far right off the 14th tee that it went into a water hazard on the 12th hole.

He was among eight players who hit five or fewer fairways in the third round. The other seven had an average score of 76.43. Somehow, Holmes shot 70.

“An adventurous day, for sure,” Holmes said.

Stanley got his mistakes out of the way quickly with three bogeys on his opening four holes, kept a clean card the rest of the way and finished with a tough par save from the bunker behind the 18th green for a hard-fought 72.

They were at 9-under 207, and more adventures await — for more than just them.

Louis Oosthuizen saved par on the 18th for a 73 and was one shot behind. Six other players were four shots behind, a group that included Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter, who thought he had lost his PGA Tour card two weeks ago until a clerical oversight was discovered.

And if the final round is anything like Saturday, it can all change so quickly.

Jon Rahm of Spain went into the third round in a tie for 10th, just five shots behind. He shot 82 and was headed home after missing the 54-hole cut. Of the 82 players on the course, 49 had at least one double bogey. Matt Kuchar had a 9 on the 14th hole and shot a career-high 81 at The Players Championship.

“No lead can be big enough,” Oosthuizen said. “That’s what makes this golf course great.”