The rain held off on moving day at the Players, setting the stage for some intriguing names to make their way up the leader board. But the story of the third round belongs to J.B. Holmes, who put on an incredibly gutsy performance to get to nine-under and tied for the lead after 54 holes.
Holmes scratched and clawed his way to a two-under 70, scrambling for 10 straight pars to begin his round, then making consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. A disastrous drive on the 14th looked like it would rob him of the momentum, but he fought for an extraordinary bogey. The 35-year-old grabbed one more birdie on the 17th after knocking his tee shot stiff. Holmes is beginning to find the form that made him nearly $3 million in 2016.
Tied at nine-under with Holmes is the steady Kyle Stanley, who carded an even par 72. The former Clemson standout struggled out of the gate, making three bogeys on his opening four holes. But he settled in soon after that, making two birdies and 12 pars to take a share of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. He’s in search of his second victory on the PGA Tour, the last coming in 2012.
Just one back at eight-under is South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen after carding a one-over 73. The 2010 Open Champion is making his seventh appearance at the Players, finishing no higher than T-33. He’s put together a quietly successful season, making the cut in every event he’s entered and finishing third at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Si Woo Kim turned plenty of heads today with some phenomenal play. Ricochets off trees, drivers off the deck, you name it, the young South Korean pulled it off to the tune of a four-under 68 that has him at seven-under for the tournament. It’s just his second appearance at the Players, and he heads into Sunday with a legitimate chance for a life-changing victory. It would be the second of his career, the first coming at the 2016 Wyndham Championship.
England’s Ian Poulter seized his ‘bonus’ opportunity with a remarkable bogey-free round of one-under 71. His round was the only one of the day without a bogey, and his streak of holes without dropping a shot is currently at 28. He’s at six-under overall, just three back heading into the final round.
The two big moves of the day came from Sergio Garcia and Emiliano Grillo, who each shot five-under 67s. The Masters Champion began the day at even par, nine shots off the lead. He now finds himself firmly in the mix at five-under after a round that featured six birdies and a phenomenal 17-foot eagle putt from off the green on the par-5 16th.
Grillo flashed the form today that earned him 2016 Rookie of the Year honors. His round was highlighted by a stellar back nine, with birdies on the 16th and 17th. He’s at six-under overall, just three back.
The lowest round of the day came from Pat Perez, a six-under 66. He’s at four-under for the tournament, well within striking distance.