Tiger hot, Simpson on autopilot at Players

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Jason Day, who won the Wells Fargo Championship last week, said Simpson was "going to have to sleep on" the lead Saturday night and realize: "You're not done".

Tiger Woods settled for a one-under-par 71 and then endured an anxious afternoon wait before knowing he had made the cut on the number of one-under.

"It's a shot I probably couldn't make but I matched his birdie", the Canadian told Reuters after shooting 68. Simpson simply couldn't miss, whether it was a 35-foot eagle putt on his second hole or a 30-foot birdie putt up the slope and into the cup on the 15th.

It was just like the halcyon days of a previous era as Tiger Woods carded his best ever score at TPC Sawgrass, a seven-under-par 65, in the third round of the Players Championship on Saturday.

Simpson's third round was electric from the start.

The par-three 13th is not an easy hole and the 15th I had to hit a five iron to reach the green, so I was very pleased with that.

Simpson's seven-shot lead set a record at The Players, and he has plenty of history on his side.

"I was pretty satisfied", Simpson told Todd Lewis of Golf Channel. "But I'm trying not to dwell there".

"To be eight under through 12, realistically, I could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 for the day".

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"Just got to keep my hat down and play my own game and". While we're here, I think Schauffele should get more love than he does. It also marked his lowest score of the season, his best since a 65 at the 2015 Wyndham Championship and his lowest score to par since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

They went from a tie for 68th to a tie for ninth.

Simpson played his third shot from the drop zone en route to a humbling double-bogey five.

Dustin Johnson at least improved his chances of staying for No. 1 with four birdies over his final 10 holes for a 69. He'll enter Sunday with an even bigger lead. And with danger lurking at every corner on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, that would suggest that the crystal and largest paycheck in golf - just shy of $2 million - doesn't belong to Simpson just yet.

From the start, signs showed the four-time major champion wasn't up to scratch.

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. "It's so hot, it's playing short, the greens are receptive". "If it's windy tomorrow like it was today and you're not very sharp, you're going to struggle around here". The only questions were "how big would Simpson's lead be?" and "Who would get close to him?" "I birdied the first couple of holes and I just kept it rolling from there", Woods told the Golf Channel. You feel like no matter what, you're going to make it.

Despite water here and there, the challenging bunkering and the possibilities for quirky bounces off the many mounds, there were times when Simpson looked like he was just showing off. The most impressive shot of his day (and possibly the one that shut down this tournament) came on the par-5 11th. His drive left him 198 yards out in the rough and his approach left him still a good 40 yards away. "I hit a lot of, overall, the whole day, a lot of quality shots and 65 was probably as high as I could have shot today, which was kind of nice". It's yet more evidence that he's capable of flashes of brilliance only months after back surgery made simple daily tasks hard.

Paul attended the University of Florida, where he played golf, and later played a few years himself on the PGA Tour.

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