Watson Struggles Stays in Contention
Watson and Irwin shared first place in Dearborn, Mich., through 36 holes; however both men struggled mightily in the third round and were overtaken for the top spot.
Ed Dougherty shot a 4-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead at 11-under-par 205 over Allen Doyle, who shot 70.
'Normally on this tour, you have to go really low to win. But this is a week where par is a good score again,' Dougherty said. 'You can't attack the course. You've got to keept the ball in the middle of the fairway and the middle of the green.'
This years Tradition champion Doug Tewell (67) is tied with Watson (72) for third place at 9-under. Jay Sigel (70) is in fifth place at 8-under. Defending champion Raymond Floyd (69) is four back with Gil Morgan (69) at 7-under.
Irwin (75) is tied with U.S. Senior Open champion Bruce Fleisher (72), Tom Kite (71) and Mike McCullough (68) at 6-under, five off the lead.
Last year, Floyd overcame a six-stroke Sunday deficit to win his second Players Championship.
Starting the day at 9-under-par, Watson double bogeyed the 2nd, 5th and 6th holes. He did make a couple of birdies on the front nine to shoot a 4-over-par 40.
Irwin was steadier, making two birdies and two bogeys to remain at 9-under.
The back nine proved to be a bit different.
Watson birdied the 13th and 16th holes, and then eagled the par-5 17th to get back to even par for the day and 9-under for the tournament.
'I was on the mat. I had to pick up the pieces,' said this year's Senior PGA champion. 'Obviously, I'm grateful to be back in contention. It has put me in a good frame of mind. I'm looking forward to Sunday now.'
On the other hand, Irwin started out fine with a birdie on the 10th, but bogeyed the par-5 13th, double bogeyed the par-3 15th and double bogeyed the par-4 16th. Were if not for a chip-in birdie on the par-4 18th, Irwin would have matched Watsons front-nine score of 40.
'That was a disaster,' Irwin said. 'I've been saying all along that I wasn't playing well. Now I need to go back to the drawing board. I just fooled everybody by making every putt yesterday.'
Dougherty came close to winning his first Senior major in the 1999 U.S. Senior Open, where he finished runner-up to Dave Eichelberger.
Saturday, he carded five birdies and one bogey. Dougherty is seeking his second career Senior victory. He claimed his maiden title in the 2000 Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic.
Full-field scores from the Ford Senior Players Championship
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:
The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.
We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.
Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.
''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open
Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.
Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.
Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.
The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.