Sunday, May 12, 2013


By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida -- Martin Laird is no stranger to final-round charges at THE PLAYERS Championship, and Sunday was no exception.

For the second straight year, the Scot closed with a 67 to vault from a tie for 18th into contention. He trailed by six at the start of the day and was three strokes off the lead before he made his only bogey of the day at the 18th hole to finish at 10 under.
A year ago, Laird tied for second, two strokes behind Matt Kuchar. He said he thought the conditions were more difficult this year.
"The wind is a lot stronger and we got some trickier pins today on Sunday, and as you'd expect the greens are faster and firmer, definitely the speed," he said.

 "They may not be firmer than yesterday, but they're definitely faster. So you get on the wrong side of the hole, and it's tough to lag it down there as opposed to other days you can maybe have a run at it.  
"It's just Sunday at THE PLAYERS. It's tough. That's one of the best rounds I've played all year and one of the best rounds I've played in a while.  I think I probably played better today than I did last year when I shot 5 under in the final round. I think it was playing a little tougher today."
Laird also came from behind to win his third PGA TOUR event earlier this year. Trailing Billy Horschel by five strokes starting the final round of the valero Texas Open, Laird fired a course-record-tying 63 to beat Rory McIlroy by two.
So even though he faced a serious deficit, the 30-year-old from Glasgow knew he could make up some ground.
"I went in today actually confident, it sounds silly, but giving the leaders a push," Laird said. "... It kind of sounds weird to say when I was five back I was not confident of winning, but I knew I could get in contention. I had to get off to a good start, and did I that. Once I started that, I wanted to keep going, and as I said, I played really well."

5:52 PM

Tiger suffers key double bogey at 14

Tiger Woods stepped on the 14th tee with a two-shot lead, but he walked off the green in a four-way tie after suffering a double bogey.
On his downswing during his initial swing on the tee at 14, Woods stopped short because of an insect. After re-setting, his tee shot landed in the water to the left of the fairway. He faced an awkward second shot after his drop, with the ball above his feet and sitting in the sliver of rough between the bunker and water.
While taking his drop, David Lingmerth and Sergio Garcia were each making birdies at the 13th to move to 12 under.
The shot came up short of the green and Tiger chipped to 6 feet. But he missed the bogey putt, dropping from 14 under to 12 under.
That put him in a tie with Lingmerth, Garcia and Jeff Maggert.

4:44 PM

Woods up by 2 heading to back

 Tiger Woods, who is looking to win THE PLAYERS Championship for the first time since 2001 and just the second time in his career, has taken a two-stroke lead to the final nine holes.

Woods started the day tied for the lead but gained a bit of a cushion when he made three birdies and dropped just one shot to par on the front nine. Martin Laird, who has two holes remaining; Jeff Maggert, Sergio Garcia and David Lingmerth are his closest competitors at 11 under.
Laird turned in 32 and he's 6 under for the round. The 49-year-old Maggert shot 35 on the front nine and made birdie on the 10th hole. Lingmerth, who is a PGA TOUR rookie, and Garcia are playing together in the final group and have just turned in even par.

The only other player in double digits under par is Henrik Stenson, the 2009 PLAYERS champ, who battled back from a double bogey at the sixth hole with birdies at Nos. 9 and 10. He is 10 under but has played the back nine in 1 over for the week.

4:27 PM

Decisive back nine beckons

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
 The back nine of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is an eclectic mixture of holes that features four of the six easiest holes and three of the six most challenging.
The hardest is the 18th, which anchors the three finishing holes that have come to be known as "The Gauntlet." Interestingly, the easiest on the course is the par-5 16th that starts the closing stretch.

The many risk-reward opportunities over the final nine holes nearly always figure prominently in deciding who wins THE PLAYERS. Here's how the leaders who have yet to make the turn have performed on the back nine this week.

Tiger Woods, who leads by one, is 6 under over the final nine holes while David Lingmerth, who is second, is 8 under. Sergio Garcia, who is two shots off the pace, and Jeff Maggert, who is three back, are 4 under on that stretch.

Henrik Stenson, who is among the players tied at 9 under, has played the back nine in 1 over while Ryan Palmer and Casey Wittenberg, who are deadlocked five strokes off the pace, are 9 under and 4 under, respectively.

4:20 PM

Pink out Sunday at PLAYERS

Several players, including Lee Westwood above, wore pink in the final round to help celebrate Mother's Day at TPC Sawgrass.
 Click here for a photo gallery.



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