Former champ Stenson quietly in Sunday mix


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – While much of the focus heading into Sunday is on a pair of former Players champions – Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia – another former winner at TPC Sawgrass is very much in the mix: Henrik Stenson.

Four years after he left the Stadium Course with trophy in hand, Stenson held the lead for much of the third round and now finds himself tied for second with Woods and Garcia, two back of countryman David Lingmerth heading into the final day. For Stenson, TPC Sawgrass remains a venue on which he feels rather comfortable.

“I think it’s a course I’ve always enjoyed playing,” he said after the round. “It’s a tough golf course, and if you do the right things you get the reward.”

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Having played 16 holes Saturday in 1 under, Stenson will face the tee shot to the island-green 17th when play resumes at 7:10 a.m. Sunday. Despite a few miscues on the back nine that cost him sole possession of the lead, he will enter the final day in position to potentially become just the sixth man with multiple Players Championship titles to his credit.

“There was one or two decisions there that I would have liked to do different in the future,” said Stenson, who bogeyed 11 and 15 after reaching 12 under at one point during the third round.

Much of Stenson’s success Saturday can be attributed to his accurate play off the tee, as the Swede found 12 of 13 fairways during his third round. Continuing that trend will be a key to scoring during what could shape up as a marathon day of play Sunday.

“You can be a bit more aggressive into the greens if you’re hitting from the fairway,” he added. “And I think I’ve done all right in that department so far.”