PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Chris Kirk felt his round slipping away when he missed a short birdie putt and followed that with two straight bogeys to fall out of the top 10. Three consecutive birdies later, he was on his way to a 4-under 68 and a one-shot lead going into the final round.
But that’s like having no lead at all. Not with two dozen players — Rory McIlroy, among them — within four shots of the lead.
“It seems like half the tour has a chance to win this thing,” McIlroy said after a 70 put him four shots behind.
Tiger Woods was part of the other half. He made the wrong kind of history Saturday by making two double bogeys on par 5s for the first time in his career, leading to a 75 that matched his worst score at TPC Sawgrass. Woods was 13 shots behind and chose not to share his thoughts on the day.
Kevin Na missed the birdie putt on 17, and then he three-putted for a double bogey on No. 18 for a 72 that dropped him from a tie for the lead to a tie for fifth, another example of how volatile in the leaderboard looked all day.
Ben Martin fell out of the lead with a bogey on the 18th for a 68, leaving him one shot behind along with Kevin Kisner (67) and Bill Haas (68). Justin Thomas was tied for the lead, but that was before the leaders teed off. The 22-year-old rookie set a Stadium Course record with 10 birdies in his round of 65 and was two behind, along with Sergio Garcia (67), Scott Brown (69), David Heard (70), Jerry Kelly (72) and Na.
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