Scheffler powers into Players Championship lead
March 11 (Reuters) – Scottie Scheffler powered into the third-round lead at the Players Championship on Saturday, taking advantage of ideal scoring conditions as the golfers produced a spectacular display of birdies, eagles, a rare ace and a record low round from Tom Hoge.
Masters champion Scheffler, who can reclaim the number one world ranking with a win on Sunday, got his round off to a sizzling birdie-eagle start to lay the foundation for a seven-under 65 and two-shot lead over Australia’s Min Woo Lee going into Sunday’s final round at the TPC Sawgrass.
Lee, whose sister Minjee Lee is a twice major winner on the women’s Tour, also got his round off to the best possible start with an eagle at the first and had looked poised to share top spot on the leaderboard with Scheffler until picking up his only bogey of the day at the 18th for a six-under 66 total.
Lurking two shots back and four off the pace is Australian Cam Sex Davis (67) with a pair of Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (65) and Aaron Rai (65), South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (69) and first-round leader Chad Ramey (68), all one shot further adrift at nine-under.
Rai moved into contention with the help of a hole-in-one at the infamous par-three 17th, landing his tee shot perfectly on the island green and watching it spin back into the cup.
But it was journeyman Hoge who produced the round of the day, returning an error-free 10-under 62, the lowest score ever at a Players Championship.
Hoge, who just made the cut right on the number after a 78 in the opening round, was 16 shots better on Saturday to join Sweden’s David Lingmerth (68) and South Korea’s Im Sung-jae (64)on eight-under and six back of the leader.(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)