Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – PGA Tour rookie David Lingmerth made a late charge into the lead Saturday before third-round play at the Players Championship was halted by darkness.
Lingmerth eagled the 16th and birdied the 17th to jump to 12-under par, where he was two strokes clear of the field. He was 4-under through 17 holes for his third round.
Henrik Stenson led for an extended period on Saturday, but he carded a pair of late bogeys to slide two back at minus-10. The 2009 winner shares second place with 2008 champ Sergio Garcia and 2001 titlist Tiger Woods.
Garcia had three bogeys and two birdies through 14 holes, while Woods birdied the second and followed with a bogey on the third. Woods, who was paired with Garcia, parred the next 11 holes before play was stopped for the night.
Jeff Maggert, 49, is the leader in the clubhouse at 9-under-par 207. He fired a 6-under 66 for the low round of the day Saturday. Casey Wittenberg, who is 1-under after 17 holes, and Ryan Palmer, who is minus-1 through 16 holes, stand alongside Maggert at minus-9 on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Play was suspended for 1 hour, 48 minutes earlier in the day due to lightning in the area. Later in the day, play was halted for the night due to darkness just before 7:50 p.m. (ET). The third round will resume on Sunday at 7:10 a.m. with the final round slated to start at approximately 8:35 a.m.
Early on, Woods and Garcia had a 2-stroke swing. Woods birdied the par-5 second, while Garcia struggled to a bogey to fall one back at 10-under.
During the first weather delay, Garcia said in a televised interview that he was distracted during his second shot on No. 2. He insinuated that Woods pulled a club and the crowd reacted as Garcia was hitting his second shot.
The duo explained themselves afterwards, Woods stating that the marshals told him that Garcia hit, then adding that he's "not surprised Garcia was complaining about something."
Garcia responded to what Woods said by stating, "That's fine. At least I'm true to myself. I know what I'm doing, and he can do whatever he wants."
The last few holes could be interesting on Sunday.
Woods followed with a bogey on the third and that created a 4-way tie for the lead with himself, Garcia, Stenson and Maggert. Woods parred his final 11 holes to remain at 10-under, and is two behind Lingmerth.
"I'm half asleep and I'm really hungry," Woods said in a televised interview before leaving the course. "I was very patient today. It was a day of grinding. Some of these pins are such sucker pins."
Garcia parred six in a row after his bogey at two. He birdied the ninth to get within one of Stenson. Garcia bogeyed the 11th and 14th, while carding a birdie on No. 13 before play was stopped.
Stenson birdied the fourth, then rolled in a 17-footer for birdie at six to grab the lead at 11-under. He moved to minus-12 with a 20-foot birdie effort on the par-5 ninth.
The Swede made a mess of the 11th and that bogey dropped him to minus-11, where he stood alongside Garcia. Stenson later bogeyed 14 and scrambled to a par at 15 before play was stopped.
That opened the door for Lingmerth. He followed a bogey with a birdie from the third and again from the sixth. The Swede also birdied eight and 11 to get to minus-10.
Lingmerth, who won on the Web.com Tour last year, tripped to a bogey at 15, but bounced right back with an 8-foot eagle putt on No. 16. That gave him the lead.
At the island green 17th, Lingmerth dropped his tee ball inside 10 feet and rolled that putt in to grab a 2-stroke lead with one hole to play in his third round.
"I was rolling it pretty good here towards the end on the back nine, so I figured I'd mine as well keep it going and try to make it," Lingmerth said of his putt on 17, which came after the horns blew to suspend play. "I might have some butterflies, it might be hard to sleep, it's going to be interesting. I'm feeling good about things."
NOTES: Lingmerth lost a playoff at the Humana Challenge earlier this year, but hasn't had a top-30 finish in his other 11 PGA Tour starts in 2013 ... The last 54-hole leader to win this title was Stephen Ames in 2006.