Simpson ties course record for Players lead

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Tiger Woods, who shot a 1-under 71 to get to 1-under for the tournament, had to wait all afternoon to see if he would make the cut or not as it fluctuated from 1-under to 2-under and finally landed on 1-under. Glover shot a 6-over 78 in the third round, nullifying two rounds below par (68-71). It's his lowest round ever at the Players, his lowest round since he returned from spinal fusion surgery and his lowest round in relation to par since a 61 at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

"I don't think it matters until I win", a measured Simpson said. "So that was nice".

But 14-time Major champion Woods clawed his way back into contention with a sizzling 65 - his best score at this event.

Simpson produced his shot of the day at the par-five 11th, where he sent his second shot some 33 yards past the hole and into a rear greenside bunker.

"Realistically, I probably could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 for the day", Woods said.

"When you're out there competing in a big tournament, you're as focused as can be, but then at a certain point, maybe on 13 today, you start just - like a kid, just kind of laughing", said Simpson, whose run of six straight birdies also matched a tournament record. With a front pin in the bowl, he hit sand wedge and listened to thousands of fans surrounding the green cheer as the ball trickled down the slope to 3 feet for birdie. However, there was likely a large portion of fans who were unable to watch their favorite golfer post his best round in years, even though Woods playing well has been a ratings bonanza for golf tournaments. He has two victories and six finishes outside the top 20. Yardage: 7,189. Par: 72.

His only two bogeys came on the toughest par-3 at Sawgrass (No. 8), and a three-putt from 40 feet on the 14th, the toughest hole in the third round. "I started to feel really comfortable in my setup".

"With these greens as soft as they are, I didn't take advantage of the opportunities I had today to really shoot a good number".

That, and a red-hot putter. His other statistics were as impressive as you'd expect: 11/14 fairways, 15/18 greens and just 27 putts.

Simpson was in a class of his own as he carded a stunning nine-under 63 which equalled the Stadium Course record, although he appeared set to hold it outright until finding water at the notorious 17th. Simpson couldn't miss putts he wasn't even trying to make, 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.

Golf can make you laugh. He finished at 1 under through two rounds and advanced some late cut movement.

He pushed his drive into thick rough at the hard par-4 14th and ended up with his lone bogey of the day.

Simpson had a plan and didn't back off until he holed an 18-foot par on the final hole for a 4-under 68.

The American started out with an 8-foot birdie putt on the opening hole.

"I was in the position I needed to be in to have a realistic go probably of catching (the leaders Sunday)", he said. Spieth had missed the cut in his previous three Players Championships and has struggled to get much going this year, especially on the greens.