Simpson ties course record, takes five-shot lead at Players

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Woods, a two-time Players victor, started the day a whopping 14 shots back of overnight leader Webb Simpson (15 under).

Webb Simpson leads by seven heading to the final round at TPC Sawgrass.

Webb Simpson matched the course record of nine-under-par 63 at TPC Sawgrass Friday, despite suffering a late double-bogey, to open up a five-shot lead on 15-under at the halfway point of the Players Championship.

An eight-foot birdie chance at the 16th lipped out and his shot to the island green 17th ended 43 feet away, although he tidied up in par.

"To be 8-under there through 12, realistically I probably could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 (under) for the day", he said. His first goal will be to play better with his irons.

The 27-year-old Kiwi, with a combined score of 204, would have led The Players in all but three of the years since it moved to May in 2007.

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Nothing, it seemed, could stop Simpson's march into history.

Although he was able to extend his lead on Day 3, Simpson wasn't ideal, with bogeys at Nos.

He ran off four birdies in five holes at the start of his round, made the turn in 30 and then added a two-putt birdie at No. 11 and a pitch to 8 feet on the short 12th.

Some member's bounces have certainly gone Simpson's way this week, but his statistical dominance is every bit as impressive as those red numbers on the leaderboard.

Woods hit 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and needed just 27 putts. In the first two rounds of eight official events Woods has played this season, he's posted a combined score of 3 over par.

He shares ninth at eight under, alongside Jordan Spieth (65).

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But Saturday was different, with Woods igniting the early morning gallery, covering his opening nine in 6 under par on his way to a 65, his lowest score to par on Tour in 1,744 days. "These guys are going to go low again".

Tiger Woods had his best round on the Stadium Course, playing the final six holes in 1 over for a 65 - his best round since 2015. Since Woods was back in 68th place when the round began, he was in one of the first groups on the course and that meant television-only viewers had to make do with highlights. He'll enter Sunday with an even bigger lead. All of them went on to win.

Fleetwood carded a 68, while Poulter's 69 could have been even better but for a double-bogey six at the 18th. It was a particularly tough finish for the Englishman, who has a pair of runner-up finishes at The Players and knows as well as anyone how uphill the climb can be when you're trying to play catch-up on a Sunday. "After what happened yesterday on 17, I wanted to play a good solid hole and I did that".

"Golf has been my life, and this has been the center of that", said Paul. "It's going very, very well for him". "I've been a pro since 2008, and I feel like you never know when a week like this will come".

Aussie Jason Day was unable to reel in Simpson, but a 71 left the 2016 champion sharing fourth at nine under, a whopping 10 shots off the pace.

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.

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