Jordan Spieth stretched his bogey-free streak to 69 holes and tied Martin Kaymer of Germany for the lead by shooting a 1-under-par 71 in round three of the Players Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The 20-year-old Spieth, who has not made a bogey since the final round of the RBC Heritage, tied Greg Norman’s Players record of 54 consecutive holes without a bogey when he holed a 13-foot par putt from the fringe for on the 18th hole to tie for the lead.
“It was very different today because I hit the ball all over the place,” said the 20-year-old Spieth, who started with 67-66 in his first Players. “I didn’t hit my driver well or give myself many birdie chances, but I got a lot of breaks.
“I made a good up-and-down on 18 and a few others, but I’m not going to be able to keep doing that. It was very tough and I didn’t have the right feeling, but I was able to hold on.”
Kaymer, the 2010 PGA champion who is trying to win on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions, also was without his best stuff.
After holding the lead by himself most of the way with a course record-tying first round 63 that he followed with a 69, Kaymer fell into a tie with Spieth by missing a nine-foot par-putt on the final hole and wound up with a 72.
“It was very tricky today and I didn’t have as many chances,” said Kaymer, who has fallen from No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings in 2011 to No. 61. “But I made some good up-and-downs and put myself in a position to win tomorrow.”
John Senden of Australia, who captured the Valspar Championship earlier this year on the other side of Florida, holed his third shot for an eagle from 76 yards on the ninth hole en route to a 68 and was three shots back in a tie for third with Sergio Garcia of Spain, the 2008 Players champion., who had a 69.
Matt Jones of Australia, who won the Shell Houston Open last month with a chip-in birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Matt Kuchar, posted a 69 and was four strokes behind in a tie for fifth with George McNeil, who also had a 69, and Gary Woodland, who finished at 70.
Francesco Molinari of Italy recorded birdies on the first three holes en route to a 67 and was five shots behind in a tie for eighth with U.S. Open champion Justin Rose of England, who had a 71, David Hearn of Canada, who carded a 68, and Lee Westwood of England, who came in at 71.
Adam Scott of Australia, who can take the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings from Tiger Woods with no worse than a two-way tie for 16th, moved up 36 spots up the leaderboard with a 69 and was tied for 28th.