No 1 Day maintains four-shot lead

Miami, May 15

Jason Day survived greens that were almost unplayable at times, overcoming two early double-bogeys to maintain a four-stroke lead after the third round at the $10.5 million Players Championship in Florida on Saturday.

The world No 1 was not the only player to have nightmares on greens that suddenly turned glassy and lightning-fast and caused scores to soar in low humidity at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course in Ponte Vedra. Day, who four-putted sixth hole from inside 20 feet, joined a chorus of players who described the greens as borderline unputtable.

The Australian finished the day with a 14-under total of 202, having earlier returned to complete the weather-delayed second round. His second round 66 gave him a tournament record-low of 129 at halfway mark.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan started the third round with three straight birdies on his way to a 67 and a share of second place with German Alex Cejka (72) and American Ken Duke (65) at 10-under. Duke and Matsuyama were the only players to break 69 on a day when 76 of the world’s best players combined for 149 three-putts, almost two per player. Nobody had a bogey-free round as the field shot an average score of 75.6 strokes.

After yielding plentiful birdies in the first two rounds, the staggeringly different state of the greens caught nearly everyone off guard, including officials. American Matt Kuchar carded 72. Four men have enjoyed a lead of four shots or better heading into the final round at the Players Championship but only one, Greg Norman in 1994, won.