Pro golf: Oosthuizen, Stanley share Players lead

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J.B. Holmes and Kyle Stanley will start the final round at 9-under with a slim one-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen.

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. Singh had birdie looks on each of his last six holes, including a 10-footer at No. 16 and an 8-footer at No. 17, but none would drop.

"I haven't won in donkey's years (but) I think I still can compete out here, and as long as I think I can compete, I'll play here", said the Fiji-born victor of three major championships, who lives near the course and is a constant presence at the driving range.

As conditions toughened at TPC Sawgrass, they played even better.

And there was plenty of that.

The victor of a major and twice a playoff loser in a major (2012 Masters, 2015 Open), he has not missed a cut since last year's Open at Royal Troon and posted 10 top-20 finishes in that period.

Phil Mickelson started making putts and moved up the leaderboard, only to begin a slow slide.

Holmes was fortunate to not get worse than a bogey on No. 14. The Ryder Cup stalwart made the most of the opportunity with the only bogey-free round of the day, and even though he had just one birdie, that 71 was enough to give him a serious chance.

"I struggled today", he said. "As long as I think I can compete, I'll play here". It's a big deal.

This is the tournament professional golfers consider a fifth major because of the difficulty of the course and the overall quality of the field.

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Poulter wasn't alone in having a shot at a big payoff from the $10.5 million purse. Spieth's last hope ended with a tee shot that bounced at the back of the island-green 17th and into the water.

He was at 6 under with Emiliano Grillo.

The leaderboard is packed, and Masters champion Sergio Garcia is lurking after a 5-under 67 Saturday. 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. I've been pretty consistent about what I've been doing practice-wise and off the golf course. "It doesn't matter who you are".

The 66s of Louis Oosthuizen and Kyle Stanley were exceptional rounds on a hot, breezy afternoon when the course became firmer and the water grabbed balls galore at the treacherous 17th. Rickie Fowler shot 74 and joined Johnson and McIlroy at 144.

Former Players Championship victor Adam Scott (71) is lurking at 3 under, two ahead of defending champion Jason Day (73) and Rory McIlroy (71).

The resulting 71 left McIlroy on one under par overall.

The top-four players also belied the notion that bombers don't have an advantage on the quirky Stadium Course.

Rafa Cabrera Bello, of Spain, hits from the 13th tee during the second round of The Players Championship golf tournament Friday, May 12, 2017, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Si Woo Kim, of South Korea, chips onto the third green during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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