PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida, (Reuters) - Unheralded Americans Kevin Kisner and Ben Martin held the lead midway through the third round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday.
Both moved to 10 under par through 13 holes, giving them a one-shot cushion over countrymen Chris Kirk and overnight leader Kevin Na.
Kirk is nine under through 10 holes and Na made the turn at nine under.
The other overnight co-leader, 48-year-old Jerry Kelly, was seven under through nine holes.
Former world number one Tiger Woods equalled his worst score at Sawgrass with a three-over 75, leaving him completely out of the mix at three over.
Current number one Rory McIlroy was two under through 17 holes, four shots off the pace.
Earlier Justin Thomas fired an impressive 65 to tie with Sergio Garcia, the 2008 Players champion, at eight under par.
“I’ve been struggling on Saturdays so far this year and maybe the key is to play a little poorly the first two days, I don’t know what it is, but, yeah, it was big today,” the 22-year-old Thomas said.
“It was one of the best rounds I’ve probably ever played in competition. To do it at a stage like this and a field and a golf course like this, to get back in the tournament was big.”
Garcia was happy to be in contention, but still a little miffed at his poor putting over the opening two rounds.
“It’s always exciting to be up there, but at the same time, obviously you look back at these first three days and I feel like I easily left on average three shots out there every round,” he said.
Editing by Gene Cherry