May 9, 2008

Saturday's Winners and Losers

Golf World's John Antonini tells you who's up and who's down after round three of the The Players Championship

WINNERS

Paul Goydos

Goydos has never had a third-round lead on the PGA Tour, but as he said, "I've only been on tour for 16 years." So how is this self-described journeyman atop the leaderboard with 18 holes to play at TPC Sawgrass? By having 11 one-putt greens Saturday, including making a 17-footer for birdie on No. 3 and another from 18 feet on the next hole. It gets better. Goydos made a 20-footer for birdie on the 10th and also made 2 on the island-green, par-3 17th. He lipped out a putt from less than 10 feet on 18, but nonetheless finished a third-round 70 for a total of seven-under 209 and a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry.

Greg Kraft

Kraft made the cut on the number after rounds of 75-72, but the veteran, who won the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year to qualify for the Players, rebounded with a 68 Saturday, the best round of the day. He had climbed from T-55 to T-7, thanks to seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch starting at No. 7. Kraft, playing his first Players since 2002, hit 12 of 14 fairways, double his total from the first round.

Phil Mickelson

Lefty had an up-and-down round Saturday with five birdies, two bogeys and a double. But at two-under 214 after a third-round 71, Mickelson is tied for fourth with Jeff Quinney and Bernhard Langer, only five strokes back of leader Paul Goydos. If anyone can come from five down to win tomorrow, it's Mickelson, the defending champ, who told writers earlier in the week that the fact he has won at the Stadium Course gives him more confidence at this tournament than he has ever had before. An early birdie or two tomorrow and those ahead of him (Goydos, Perry and Sergio Garcia) might be looking over their shoulders at the highest-ranked player in the field.

Tim Petrovic, Charlie Wi and Tom Lehman

The trio shot third-round 69s to make big moves Saturday. Petrovic and Lehman went from T-37 to T-7 at one-under 215. Wi is one shot behind them, having climbed from T-55 to T-14.

LOSERS

Sergio Garcia

The Spaniard was seven under and tied for the lead after 12 holes, but made bogeys on four of his final six to fall to five under (he birdied the par-5 16th) and end up third at four-under 212, two strokes back of Paul Goydos and one back of Kenny Perry. He bogeyed three of the par-3 holes Saturday and is now three over on the short shots this week, including the funky double on 17 Friday. But Garcia is upbeat. Despite needing 67 putts the last two days, he refused to blame the flatstick for his second straight 73. "I feel like I'm putting well," Garcia told NBC's Jimmy Roberts after the round. "Other than jamming one on 17, I felt I hit a lot good putts, they're just not going in."

Chris DiMarco

DiMarco had to be pleased with his results after shooting 71-73 for the first two rounds, leaving him tied for 16th at even par. But he posted a 78 Saturday and fell all the way to T-53. The third round was just a microcosm of the season for the Florida Gator, who in 11 previous starts in 2008, has played 72 holes just three times, with his best finish a T-54 at the FBR Open. He didn't make a birdie all day and bogeyed three of his last five holes, all the result of hitting just six greens in regulation after hitting 12 and 11 the first two days.

Fred Couples

Yes, Couples birdied the 18th hole with a nifty pitch shot (the only 3 of the day on the finishing hole), but four bogeys and a double on his first 10 holes took Freddie out of contention. His 77 dropped him from T-7 to T-34. Couples hit just five of 14 fairways and didn't make any putts, averaging exactly two putts per green hit in regulation.

Bart Bryant

Only Bryant had a more precipitous drop than DiMarco, as he fell from T-16 to T-63 after a third-round 79.