Webb Simpson equals Greg Norman's record at Players

Webb Simpson left shakes hands with playing partner Tyrrell Hatton of England on the 18th green during the second round of The Players Championship golf tournament Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach Fla

Webb Simpson equals Greg Norman's record at Players

Webb Simpson has set up Sunday at the Player Championship as nothing more than a victory lap around the TPC Sawgrass, provided he avoids the crash-and-burn on a course that doesn't countenance carelessness.

He ended the front nine with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth for a one-shot lead, and then he took off. Starting with an up-and-down at the par-5 11th, Simpson ran off six straight birdies - three straight from the 20-foot range, the most unlikely birdie with the one from behind the 15th green, and another up-and-down from left the of the green on the par-5 16th.

Former world number one and 2016 victor Jason Day recorded a five-under-par 67 to be seven shots adrift of Simpson.

Then there was a 79 by Canada's Nick Taylor - who was even par for the day until a bogey on the 14th, a quadruple-bogey 7 on the 17th and a double-bogey on the closing hole - and an 81 signed for by Brendan Steele, who has seven bogeys and a double-bogey, and no birdies, on his card Saturday. He tapped in for birdie.

Lee shot a 2-under 70 in the third round and trails Simpson by seven strokes heading into Sunday.

No player on the PGA Tour has lost a tournament when leading by seven going into the final round.

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With a 19-under total of 197, former US Open victor Simpson matched Norman's 1994 effort.

Tiger Woods emerged from the wilderness with a sensational 65 - his lowest score ever at The Players - to share ninth at eight under alongside Jordan Spieth, who matched his compatriot with a round of seven under.

Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffele and Jason Day lay one shot further back.

"I'm going to just keep my hat down and play my game", Lee said. Johnson has never finished in the top 10 here.

Woods picked up another shot at the par-five 11th and sank an eight-foot putt for birdie on 12.

"I played a lot of good shots out there today and it was nice to see a few putts go in".

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All he had to do was navigate the shortest and scariest hole Friday afternoon on the Stadium Course. Simpson stood up to several major champions on Saturday and swatted away their feeble attempts at cutting into his monstrous lead. "So just shows you where it actually matters, and that's on the greens".

T4. Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Xander Schauffele, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel (-9): Dufner pretty easily had the best day out of anyone in this group with a 6-under 66, but it's hard to see anyone here running down Simpson from 10 back and beating Johnson by a pair.

Simpson righted himself to par the last and equal the 63 previously shot by Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Robert Castro, Martin Kaymer, Day and Colt Knost. Woods and Spieth, playing a few groups apart, tied for the lowest score of the day. "But a big thing is that I'm comfortable on this golf course". He was in range of the course record that eluded Simpson on Saturday.

Woods, a two-time victor of The Players, started the day 14 shots off the pace.

It was his lowest round on the PGA Tour since a 65 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship at the end of the 2015 regular season. He made the cut on the number (1-under 143) after a 71 in the easier morning conditions.

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, gave notice that he would give no quarter with birdies on two of the first four holes.

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Kiwi golfer Danny Lee has continued to shine at The Players Championship in Florida.

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