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Third-Round Notes – Saturday, March 13, 2021

Weather: Mostly Sunny. High of 75. Wind E 6-12 mph.

Third-Round Leaderboard

Lee Westwood                69-66-68—203 (-13)

Bryson DeChambeau     69-69-67—205 (-11)

Justin Thomas                 71-71-64—206 (-10)

Doug Ghim                       71-67-68—206 (-10)

Things to Know

  • Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau will play in Sunday’s final group together for the second consecutive week; in the Shotlink era, the only other time this has happened in consecutive stroke-play events was Adam Scott and Vijay Singh (2006 TOUR Championship, 2007 Sentry Tournament of Champions)
  • Westwood is seeking to win in his 15th start at THE PLAYERS, which would match the most starts by a first-time winner in tournament history; he would also become the tournament’s second-oldest winner (age on Sunday: 47 years, 10 months, 18 days)
  • DeChambeau is seeking to become the fourth player to win the week immediately preceding a victory at THE PLAYERS Championship, and first since Tiger Woods in 2001
  • Justin Thomas is seeking to become the fourth player to win THE PLAYERS, the FedExCup, a major championship and a World Golf Championships event (Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy)
  • Doug Ghim is seeking to become the fourth player to win in his debut at THE PLAYERS (Jack Nicklaus/1974, Hal Sutton/1983, Craig Perks/2002)

Third-Round Lead Notes

20          Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win THE PLAYERS Championship (most recent: Webb Simpson/2018)

8            Third-round leaders/co-leaders to win on TOUR in 2020-21

(most recent: Collin Morikawa (WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession

Lee Westwood (1st/-13)Entering the week
Age47 (April 24, 1973)
FedExCup / OWGR58 / 31
Starts at THE PLAYERS14
Top-10s at THE PLAYERS5
Career PGA TOUR starts245
Career PGA TOUR wins2
Career PGA TOUR top-10s47
PGA TOUR starts in 2020-216
PGA TOUR wins in 2020-210
PGA TOUR top-10s in 2020-211

Lee Westwood (1st/-13)

  • Cards his second straight bogey-free round and the seventh of his career at THE PLAYERS, the most of any player since 2005; has played 44 consecutive holes without a bogey
  • Marks his second consecutive 54-hole lead, as he led by one through three rounds at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard; entering this week, he has converted 1-of-6 third-round leads/co-leads on the PGA TOUR into victory (1998 Zurich Classic of New Orleans)
  • At 47 years old, seeks to become the second-oldest winner in tournament history (Fred Funk, 2005/48 years, 9 months, 14 days)
  • A victory Sunday would come in his 15th start at THE PLAYERS, matching Tom Kite (1989) and Funk (2005) for most starts before his first victory at this event
  • Entered the Florida Swing (beginning at the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession) at No. 153 in the FedExCup standings; Ranks 58th currently after a runner-up last week
  • Owns 42 worldwide victories (most recent: 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA) and two PGA TOUR titles: 1998 Zurich Classic of New Orleans; 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic

Bryson DeChambeau (2nd/-11)

  • The FedExCup leader made a 12-foot putt for par on the 18th to remain at 11-under; posts a 5-under 67, matching his tournament-low score (2018/R2)
  • Went 30 consecutive holes without a bogey before making bogey on the par-4 14th hole
  • Seeks to join Tiger Woods (2013) as the only FedExCup leader to win THE PLAYERS
  • Has made the cut in each of his three starts at THE PLAYERS (best: T20/2019)
  • Is the only player with multiple victories during the 2020-21 season (U.S. Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard)
  • Took over the lead in the FedExCup standings with his win at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (his ninth week at No. 1 this season)

Justin Thomas (T3/-10)

  • Records tournament-low round with an 8-under 64, his sixth round in the 60s at THE PLAYERS in 22nd round
  • Saturday marks the seventh time Thomas made four or more consecutive birdies to start a round on TOUR; it is the second time he has done so at THE PLAYERS (2015/R3)
  • Started the third round seven strokes off the lead; his largest final 36-hole comeback victory on TOUR is seven (2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational)
  • Would become the fourth player to win THE PLAYERS, the FedExCup, a major championship and a World Golf Championships event (Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy)
  • Owns one top-10 in five starts at the event (T3/2016)
  • Has four top-10s in nine starts during the 2020-21 season, highlighted by a T2 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD and a solo-third at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

Doug Ghim (T3/-10)

  • Made five birdies and a bogey on No. 16, which ended a streak of 33 straight holes without a bogey
  • Leads the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (11.848)
  • In 22 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, his best position through 54 holes was T5 at the 2019 Country Club de Bogota Championship (finished T3)
  • In his first 41 starts on the PGA TOUR, his best position through 54 holes was fourth at the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open (finished T20)
  • Seeking to become the fourth player to win in his debut at THE PLAYERS (Jack Nicklaus/1974, Hal Sutton/1983, Craig Perks/2002)
  • Competed in the AJGA Junior PLAYERS Championship three times: 2011/T27, 2012/T29, 2013/T9. He shot a final-round 69 en route to his T9 finish in 2013. The 2021 PLAYERS Championship field included 29 players who competed in the AJGA Junior PLAYERS Championship.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • After making the cut for just the fifth time in 13 starts at THE PLAYERS, Paul Casey is T5 at 9-under; his third-round 67 was his best score in his 32nd round at TPC Sawgrass
  • Cameron Smith improved from T50 to T11 after a third-round 65, his first score in the 60s in his 11th round at TPC Sawgrass. The best finish by a player who made the cut on the number at THE PLAYERS was T3 (2006 Camilo Villegas).
  • Brian Harman (-9/T5) holed his 109-yard approach on No. 1 for the second eagle of the week on the opening hole (Chris Kirk/R2). This year marks the third time two eagles have been recorded on No. 1 in tournament history (1985, 1998).
  • Adam Scott has birdied No. 17 all three rounds after hitting his tee shots to 1′ 7″ (R1), 1′ 8″ (R2) and 2′ 6″ (R3). The cumulative distance of 5’ 9” is the best in the first three rounds in tournament history (in the Shotlink era). The best four-round cumulative distance is 21’ 11” (Kevin Chappell/2016).
  • Two players in tournament history have birdied No. 17 all four rounds: Kyle Stanley/2017, Paul Azinger/1987

Course Statistics

Toughest Hole                                          Easiest Hole

R1:         Par-4 18th (4.416)                                     Par-5 16th (4.610)

R2:         Par-4 14th (4.346)                                     Par-5 11th (4.536)

R3:         Par-3 8th (3.239); par-4 14th (4.239)      Par-4 12th (3.507)

Scoring Averages                                                      

              Front 9                Back 9                 Total                   Cumulative

R1:         36.896                 36.909                 73.805                 –
R2:         36.072                 35.967                 72.039                 72.925

R3:         35.634                 35.451                 71.085                 72.310

Bogey-free rounds:

R1 (1): Tom Hoge (69)

R2 (2): Lee Westwood (66), Doug Ghim (67) (Note: Westwood and Ghim were also the only two players with bogey-free rounds in R1 last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard)

R3 (2): Lee Westwood (68), Abraham Ancer (68)

Balls in the water at No. 17 (since 2003)


Morgan Stanley Eagles for Impact Challenge
As part of its Eagles for Impact Challenge, Morgan Stanley will donate 1,500 books for every eagle made at THE PLAYERS to Book Trust—an early literacy non-profit that works to engage every child in book choice and ownership, cultivating literacy rich communities. Here’s a breakdown of eagles made and books donated:

Round                 Eagles                 Books

1                          14                        21,000
2                           14                        21,000
3                           8                           12,000