PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Making his 24th start at THE PLAYERS Championship but his first in eight years, Mark O’Meara turned back the clock, shooting a 6-under 66 that left him alone in third place when he concluded his round.
The 66 is also O’Meara’s lowest round at TPC Sawgrass since he shot 66 in the third round of 1993.
The 54-year-old O’Meara, the oldest player in the field, won the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship last year on the Champions Tour, which is how he gained his spot in this week’s event. He certainly made the most of it on Thursday, especially on the back nine when he shot 4-under 32, including a birdie on the finishing hole when he drained a putt from 31 feet, 5 inches.
O’Meara also made a putt of 20 feet, 7 inches for birdie on the third hole, a 13-foot, 9-inch putt for birdie at the ninth, and a putt just inside 11 feet for birdie at the 14th.
“I think my attitude was good out there today,” O’Meara said. “I thought that was a big key, and I putted extremely well. I made some good par putt saves and I made some wonderful birdie putts.”
O’Meara has never won at TPC Sawgrass and has not played in this event since 2003. But he does have six top-10 finishes at THE PLAYERS.
Should O’Meara go on to win this week, he would be the oldest champion in PLAYERS history. In 2005, Fred Funk won at the age of 48 years, 9 months, 14 days.
The oldest player to make the cut in a PLAYERS was Julius Boros at age 55 years, 174 days in 1975.
MARK O’MEARA’S LOWEST ROUNDS AT THE PLAYERS
|67||2000||Fourth||Tied for ninth|