Webb Simpson ties course record, takes 5-shot lead at Players

Golf Channel  Screenshot

You could give me a putter and 12 looks inside 20 feet, and I'd be under par.

The 2012 U.S. Open champion's 19-under total of 197 matched the tournament 54-hole record held by Greg Norman.

He bogeyed the par-3 eighth but promptly recovered that shot with a birdie at the par-5 ninth.

Woods pointed to his tee shot at the 242-yard, par-3 eighth, which landed a little more than 30 feet from the hole; his second shot at the par-5 ninth, which stopped on the fringe from almost 270 yards out; and his towering approach shot at the par-5 11th, which carried two bunkers and part of a pond before landing on the putting surface and leaving him a lengthy eagle putt.

On day two at golf's unofficial fifth major, Simpson emerged as a runaway leader courtesy of a course record-equalling nine-under-par 63.

Simpson, whose unique putting action is described by his caddie as the (Matt) Kuchar-claw, has converted 39 of 41 putts from 10 feet and in, and punctuated his round with a17-footer for par at the last hole. "I got my "playing feels" back and it's just a matter of executing and putting the shots together", Woods said.

"I'm trying not to dwell there. I knew I had to be more aggressive today and I was able to convert". They are tied at that number with Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (68) and Ian Poulter (69), Harold Varner III (70), Matt Kuchar (71) and Patrick Cantlay (74). On Friday he drained almost everything he looked at, needing only 23 putts but holing more than 142 feet of them.

The 65 was his lowest career score in 66 going around TPC Sawgrass.

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It was also his best score in relation to par since 2013, though he has played only sparingly in the ensuing five years while nursing a serious back injury. He was in range of the course record that eluded Simpson on Saturday. 'By the time I got to the 15th and I holed one from off the green that would have gone 10ft past if it had missed the hole, I just started laughing.

And Woods is not stopping there, as he hopes to continue to rebuilding his game: "Eventually, I want to put all of the pieces together".

"I mean to be 8-under there through 12, realistically I probably could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 for the day", he said. "I managed to stay very patient out there".

His round contained nine birdies - including a run of six consecutive gained strokes from the 11th to the 16th - and an eagle at the second, and could have been even better had he not found the water at the 17th, leading to a double-bogey five.

"If you don't miss a putt inside of 15 feet, golf is pretty easy", Spieth quipped. "I have been doing this event a long time". "But when you are making half of them, like I was the first round, then it's a harder game". "Out here, I felt like I didn't play that bad and I'm like in last".

A Saturday quirk related to Jordan Spieth, who had helped his compatriot survive the halfway cut with an 18th-hole bogey on Friday.

"I birdied the first couple of holes and I just kept it rolling from there", Woods said, per PGATour.com's Ben Everill. He parred the final three holes for as disappointing a 65 as he's probably ever shot, given the start he got off to.

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