Only the strong survived on Saturday at The Players Championship.
There was supposed to be rain at the Stadium Course but instead, the front missed and strong winds showed up to torture the field during the third round of action.
At day’s end when the winds finally subsided, it was J.B. Holmes and Kyle Stanley tied at the top at nine-under par after 54-hole of the PGA Tour’s flagship event.
“I had to be really patient, moreso than yesterday,” said Stanley, who has held only one 54-hole lead prior to this and that was in 2012 when a nightmare at the 72nd hole cost him a victory at The Farmers.
Both Stanley and Holmes will have the chance on Sunday to record their biggest career victories.
Stanley hit it the best of the co-leaders on his way to an even par round of 72.
Holmes scrambled like there was no tomorrow. He missed half the fairways but still managed to shoot a two-under par 70 to put himself in the last pairing on Sunday with Stanley.
If either player falters, there are a host of contenders behind them.
Louie Oosthuizen had an up-and-down day but held it together well enough to shoot one-over and was alone at eight-under after holding a piece of the overnight lead with Stanley.
He will play in the next-to-last pairing with 21-year-old South Korean star Si Woo Kim. Kim birdied the infamous 17th to get in at seven-under.
Ian Poulter, who nearly lost his tour card, finds himself in good position after shooting the day’s low round — a five under par 67. Poulter was the only player in the field who turned in a bogey-free scorecard. “It was playing extremely difficult,” Poulter pointed out.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia tied Poulter’s 67 and put himself in position to contend on Sunday. He’s in at five-under par.
The wind took its toll on a lot of big names, including Vijay Singh. Singh started the day in contention but suffered through a 79 and finished at one-over, falling 27 spots down the leaderboard.
Jon Rahm was expected to make a move but turned in his worst score as a PGA Tour member — a 10-over par 82.
Phil Mickelson went 18 holes without a birdie and shot 78.