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Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. • Jordan Spieth couldn't see any of the 240 yards to the green on the toughest hole at the TPC Sawgrass. He was in the rough so far right of the 14th fairway that he was closer to a water hazard on No. 12 that he didn't know even existed. His ball was on the back side of a mound. One wrong move could have led to a big number.
"Probably the best shot I've hit here this week," Spieth said Saturday.
The contact was perfect. The ball landed about pin-high in a bunker, setting up another par.
It was like that all day at The Players Championship.
Every time the 20-year-old Texan landed in trouble, he answered with a recovery shot, a chip-and-run, and always a putt that kept him without a bogey through 54 holes and gave him a share of the lead with Martin Kaymer going into the final round.
Spieth's final act was an escape through the trees on the 18th hole and a 12-foot par putt from the fringe for a 1-under 71. Kaymer missed his par putt from just inside 10 feet on the final hole and had to settle for a 72.
They were at 12-under 204, three shots clear of former Players winner Sergio Garcia (69) and John Senden (68).
Not since Greg Norman won The Players in 1994 has anyone gone through the opening three rounds without a bogey. Then again, Spieth has shown over the last year that he is capable of remarkable feats.
"I didn't play with him the first two days, but there were a couple today where you think it's a tough one to save par, and he always pulled it off," Kaymer said. "If it wasn't a brilliant chip, it was a good putt. So it's very tough to beat those guys that don't make mistakes. ... Seems like he doesn't make many mistakes."
Kaymer wasn't too shabby on the toughest day all week at Sawgrass warm, humid, blustery and increasingly frightening. He picked up a pair of birdies on the front nine to build a two-shot lead, only to lost two birdie opportunities on the par 5s on the back nine.
A former world No. 1 and major champion, Kaymer is trying to end more than two years without winning.
The Players Championship
At TPC Sawgrass, Players Stadium Course
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Purse • $10 million
Yardage • 7,215
Par • 72
204Martin Kaymer 63-69-72; Jordan Spieth 67-66-71
207John Senden 70-69-68; Sergio Garcia 67-71-69
208Matt Jones 70-69-69; George McNeill 71-68-69; Gary Woodland 67-71-70
209Francesco Molinari 72-70-67; David Hearn 70-71-68; Lee Westwood 67-71-71
210Stewart Cink 70-70-70; Jim Furyk 70-68-72
211Ryan Moore 70-74-67; Brandt Snedeker 75-69-67; Matt Kuchar 71-71-69; Daniel Summerhays 74-68-69; Bo Van Pelt 71-70-70; Morgan Hoffmann 71-70-70; Bubba Watson 69-72-70; Henrik Stenson 71-70-70; Justin Leonard;68-73-70; Bill Haas 68-71-72; Justin Rose 67-71-73
212Brian Stuard 67-76-69; Steve Stricker 71-70-71; Zach Johnson 69-71-72; Brian Davis 72-67-73
213Rory McIlroy 70-74-69; Rory Sabbatini 71-73-69; Adam Scott 77-67-69; Hideki Matsuyama 70-71-72;
214Chris Kirk 71-73-70; Jimmy Walker 75-68-71; John Peterson;73-69-72; Justin Hicks 73-70-71; Dustin Johnson 68-74-72;
215Scott Stallings 67-77-71; Ryan Palmer 71-73-71; Steven Bowditch 72-72-71; Angel Cabrera 70-74-71; Jason Dufner 69-74-72; Charley Hoffman 77-67-71; Scott Langley 71-72-72; Ian Poulter 74-69-72; Charlie Beljan 73-69-73; Martin Flores 70-71-74; Jamie Donaldson 74-67-74; Freddie Jacobson 70-70-75; Kevin Chappell 72-68-75; Kevin Na;70-69-76; Geoff Ogilvy 69-70-76
216K.J. Choi 74-70-72;; Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 67-77-72; J.J. Henry 74-70-72; Marc Leishman 70-72-74; Erik Compton 72-70-74; Pat Perez 68-73-75; Charl Schwartzel 72-67-77; Scott Brown 68-71-77; Russell Henley 65-71-80
217Russell Knox 72-72-73; Jeff Maggert 72-71-74; Retief Goosen 72-70-75; Brendan Steele 69-73-75; Billy Horschel 72-70-75; Luke Donald 73-69-75; Graeme McDowell 69-71-77
218Brendon de Jonge 69-74-75; Kyle Stanley 73-69-76; Richard H. Lee 71-71-76; Sang-Moon Bae 66-73-79
Made cut did not finish
219Ernie Els 68-76-75; Seung-Yul Noh 76-68-75;
John Huh 69-72-78
220John Merrick 72-71-77; Jonas Blixt 71-72-77
221Stuart Appleby 71-73-77; John Rollins 73-71-77; Rickie Fowler 71-72-78
222Chris Stroud 76-67-79; Joost Luiten 68-72-82; Jeff Overton 70-72-83