Tiger Woods is one of the three co-leaders going into the final round. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. --Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, two past champions of THE PLAYERS Championship, will enter the final round Sunday tied for the lead. Joining them is PGA TOUR rookie David Lingmerth, the Web.com Tour graduate making just his 13th start on TOUR.
All three players are at 11 under, having completing their third rounds on Sunday morning after play was suspended Saturday night due to darkness.
Lingmerth knows his track record at TPC Sawgrass can match Garcia's or Woods', but he isn't planning to fade away in the final round.
"I'm expecting to be good," he said. "I've been feeling good all week, so I'm expecting to be in it."
Asked if he was surprised to see a rookie tied for the lead, Woods said, "Anything can happen here. This is a golf course that if you're playing well, you're playing well. Obviously, he's playing well and he's right there."
They share the 54-hole lead by one stroke over the trio of Henrik Stenson, Ryan Palmer and Casey Wittenberg. Jeff Maggert is another shot back at 9 under, while Hunter Mahan and David Lynn are at 8 under.
Garcia, the 2008 PLAYERS champ, and Lingmerth will be in the final twosome for Sunday's final round. Woods, the 2001 champ, will play with Wittenberg, another Web.com Tour grad.
Garcia is in the final group instead of Woods because he had honors on the final hole. Since both players finished with the same 54-hole score, that left Garcia with Lingmerth, who had completed his round earlier.
Garcia played with Woods in the third round and said he was distracted by an incident on the second hole. Given the circumstances, Garcia is glad he's playing with Lingmerth on Sunday.
"I think it's probably good for both of us," Garcia said, also referring to Woods. "I mean, it's as simple as that."
Woods said it didn't matter who he was paired with in the final round.
"It really doesn't, no," he said. "I'm tied for the lead, so I'm right there."
Woods and Garcia had the most holes to finish Sunday morning with four, having stopped on Saturday after hitting their tee shots at the 15th hole.
Woods birdied the par-5 16th and parred the rest to complete his 1-under 71.
Garcia completed the 15th hole with a bogey but bounced back with a birdie at the 16th and then another one at the par-3 17th when he rolled in a putt from 12 feet.
Lingmerth, with just one hole to play, started off with a shaky drive that found trouble down the right side of the 18th fairway. That forced him into a bad spot with his second shot, as he tried to hit a 6-iron over a tree in front of him. It hit the tree and scooted into the fairway, leading to a bogey that dropped him to 11 under. He had led by two shots when play was halted Saturday.
"Honestly, I feel pretty good over it," Lingmerth said about his first tee shot on Sunday. "Just kind of blocked it out. I was trying to hit a cut, which is my go-to shot really. I just kind of slapped it a little too much.
"The second shot was the one that was a little bit troubling. Hit a bad one there and got lucky to be on the fairway."
Stenson parred his remaining two holes to complete his 1-under 71 and is at 10 under. Palmer birdied the 17th en route to a 70 and is also at 10 under.
"It's not the easiest two holes to finish off in the morning at 7 o'clock, so I was quite pleased making two pars on 17 and 18," Stenson said. "It's a wide-open tournament, probably 10 or 15 guys that can win this thing.
"So happy to be out there and just going to go back and rest a little bit and come back ready for this afternoon."