Jordan Spieth's amazing bogey-free streak continues on Saturday at the Players Championship. The 20-year-old has yet to make a bogey this week through 48 holes. It's an astounding stretch on a course where there's so much water trouble and where almost every inaccurate shot is penalized.
Spieth opened his third round with 10 straight pars, missing a couple birdie chances at the par-5s but sticking with Martin Kaymer. He finally rolled one in to gain some ground on Kaymer at the par-5 11th hole. There was chatter Saturday morning that Spieth needs to convert this weekend, and stop just contending and making noise on the weekend at these major events.
So, this is a really important weekend for Spieth. He needs a victory. The kid has proven he can play at a very high level. But wins matter.— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) May 10, 2014
Is Spieth going to be merely very good or a player for the ages? If it's the latter, he needs to seize these moments. Now.— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) May 10, 2014
I hope so. But his one W took a 72nd hole miracle & he's gone backward a lot on Sun. Time to progress. "@dbcmarshal18 Spieth's the real deal— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) May 10, 2014
A win would obviously be huge for Spieth, the biggest of his nascent career and unless there's an implosion down the stretch, he'll be right back in the final pairing again on Sunday.
At one point, Kaymer dropped a shot for a two-way tie at 11-under, but that lasted only moments as he quickly got back to 12-under with a birdie on the sixth. It's been the biggest week for Kaymer since he sank that Ryder Cup clinching putt in 2012. At that point, he was already searching for his game and it's been a rough stretch since that rise to world No. 1 in 2011. But the major champion seems to have his game trending upwards this season, following a couple misadventures trying to sharpen his swing and learning to hit a better draw. He'll also be in the final group again on Sunday. After that course record opening round, can he go wire to wire to complete the comeback?
After that final pairing, the primary contenders for a chasedown appear to be Sergio Garcia and Gary Woodland. Garcia has a history here, and is almost always in the hunt on Sunday. He won it in 2008, and then put three in the drink on the last two holes last year to end his back-and-forth battle with Tiger Woods. He's currently four shots back with a birdie chance coming up at the 16th. Let's just hope he avoids this coming in:
Here's a snapshot of the top of the leaderboard late on Saturday: