Players Championship 2012 Leaderboard: Rickie Fowler's Huge Day Will Lead to Win

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIMay 12, 2012

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12: Rickie Fowler of the United States lines up a putt on the 15th green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With Tiger Woods nowhere in sight, five other Americans are among the contenders at TPC Sawgrass. Rickie Fowler had a great third round. He shot an amazing six-under par to finish his day at nine-under par for the tournament through three rounds.

His 66 on Saturday was tied for the best round any golfer has shot at the tournament this year.

Woods struggled to an even par finish on Saturday, and he's still at two-under for the tournament. 

Right now, Fowler has the momentum and it appears his primary challenge will come from fellow Americans. Through the front nine, Matt Kuchar sits at 10-under overall, and he has been very consistent over the past two-and-a-half days.

Other notable Americans in contention are: Kevin Na, Brian Davis, Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson. When it's all said and done on Sunday, Fowler will come out on top.

He has played progressively better as the tournament has gone on. He has improved his score every round. In Round 1 he shot a 72, Fowler followed that up with a 69 on Friday and now the 66 on Saturday.

Were it not for his bogey on 18 today, he would have put up the best round of anyone at the tournament.

He birdied seven holes on Saturday, but the most telling stat is his GIR% (greens in regulation). Fowler has hit a healthy 79.6 of the greens in a workable number of strokes.

Fowler isn't just hitting the greens, he's putting decently as well. He's averaging less than two putts per every green he reaches.

Here's a combination for success: Hit the ball nearly 300 yards per drive—which he is (294.3 yards per drive)—hit it accurate enough to have an almost 80 percent GIR and then average less than two putts per visit to the green.

That, my friends, is called putting it all together.

Fowler is trending upward and peaking at the right time. I believe he'll carry this through Sunday and capture his second PGA Tour victory. If he continues to play like this, there will be many more victories in the future.

Follow Brian Mazique and for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games.