Golf News

Xander Schauffele takes 2024 Players lead heading into final round

2024 Players Championship

Brian Harman walks to the 2nd green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Harman stood T-75 after shooting even-par 72 in the opening round. But he produced the low round of the tournament on Saturday, an 8-under 64, to climb to 15 under and solo third.

“Brian shot one of the easiest 8 unders I’ve ever seen in my life,” said his fellow playing competitor in the third round, Sahith Theegala.

After having never posted a score of 65 or better in his first 39 rounds at TPC Sawgrass, Harman did so back-to-back days and set the lowest middle 36-hole total of 129 (65-64) at the Players.

The difference has been Harman’s iron play. After ranking 83rd in Strokes Gained: Approach in the first round, he has gained more than three strokes the last two days and ranks third overall this week in that category.

“My iron play has been my big bugaboo for me all my career,” he said. “If I can get it on the green, I’m usually pretty good at rolling it.”

On Saturday, Harman made more than 100 feet of putts for the second straight day. He ranks fourth in SG: Putting this week. He made birdie on all of the even holes through No. 10, where he stiffed his approach after making a wayward drive at nine for his lone bogey.

“Then I went and screwed it up and made a birdie at 11,” he said.

He added birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 16 for splits of 33-31. Asked what he will need to do on Sunday, he said he’d like to hit a few more fairways. Winning the British Open in July confirmed he’s capable of producing his best golf in the biggest moments, and he noted that he considers the Players his favorite event on Tour.

“I’ve been close a couple times,” he said. “I’m really excited for tomorrow.”


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