Players Championship 2013: Full Predictions for Final-Round Action

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Players Championship 2013: Full Predictions for Final-Round Action
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

It may not be a major, but the feel of Sunday at the Players Championship certainly suggests some final-round drama will unfold when the final groups take to TPC Sawgrass this afternoon.

Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and David Lingmerth are tied atop the leaderboard at 11-under, one stroke ahead of a trio of golfers in Casey Wittenberg, Henrik Stenson and Ryan Palmer, who have played incredibly consistent golf this weekend. Should the scoring conditions improve from Saturday, the final round should produce a lot of movement at the top of the leaderboard.

 

2013 Players Championship Leaderboard

Pos

Golfer

R1

R2

R3

To Par

Final Round Prediction

T1

David Lingmerth

68

68

69

-11

70

T1

Sergio Garcia

68

65

72

-11

74

T1

Tiger Woods

67

67

71

-11

68

T4

Casey Wittenberg

67

69

70

-10

67

 T4

Ryan Palmer

67

69

70

-10

70

T4

Henrik Stenson

68

67

71

-10

67

7

Jeff Maggert

70

71

66

-9

71

T8

David Lynn

72

68

68

-8

73

T8

Hunter Mahan

67

70

71

-8

72

T10

Greg Chalmers

68

73

68

-7

69

T10

Marc Leishman

72

66

71

-7

73

T10

Lee Westwood

69

66

74

-7

68

Other Notables

 T18

Rory McIlroy

66

72

73

-5

70

 T18

Brandt Snedeker

71

69

71

-5

68

 T37

Bubba Watson

73

70

70

-3

71

 T42

Luke Donald

72

69

73

-2

68

CUT

Phil Mickelson

72

73

 

CUT

N/A

CUT

Justin Rose

72

74

 

CUT

N/A

*Full leaderboard can be found at PGA.com.

USA TODAY Sports

Yet for all the tremendous play and low scores we’ve seen at Sawgrass, another familiar storyline has supplanted both. Garcia is in contention once again heading into the final round, and once again, it isn’t his play that has taken center stage.

The Spaniard wasn’t happy with Woods’ alleged lack of respect on Saturday, claiming the world No. 1 got the crowd fired up during his backswing at the par-five second—resulting in an errant shot and a bogey for the hole. He had this to say of the matter, as quoted by James Corrigan of The Telegraph:

Well, obviously Tiger was on the left and it was my turn to hit. He moved all the crowd that he needed to move, I waited for that. You do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit and right as I was in the top of the backswing, he must have pulled a wood and everybody started screaming.

Regardless of Woods’ intent (or lack thereof), Garcia’s complaint will certainly resonate with the 37-year-old when the pair take to the course for Sunday’s round. It’s a good thing Woods will be paired with Wittenberg for his final 18, as Garcia suggested following Saturday’s drama (via Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel):

There’s plenty more to examine as the final round commences, though. Let’s take a look at some of the big storylines of the tournament and make some final-round predictions as the Players Championship comes to a close Sunday.

 

All Dried Up

USA TODAY Sports

Thunderstorms made scoring conditions less than ideal Saturday, but partly cloudy (and hopefully dry) weather should open up the scoring on Sunday. Considering the low rounds we saw in the first two days of action, TPC Sawgrass should yield plenty of scores in the 60s as drier course conditions give way to a much more favorable scoring track.

With more advantageous weather on Friday and Saturday, the top six players in the field posted scores in the 60s both days. On Saturday, only Lingmerth came in under 70 with a third-round 69 for a share of the lead.

Should the rain hold off, the course should play a lot longer Sunday, leaving big hitters like Woods with an opportunity to make a strong push in the final round.

Prediction: Woods, Wittenberg and Stenson fire off final rounds in the 60s for a three-way playoff.

 

Same Old Sergio

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

To take nothing away from the Spaniard, Garcia isn’t one to thrive under the pressure of a Sunday lead.

How will the Woods-Garcia drama affect their play Sunday?

Submit Vote vote to see results

It isn’t a major, but the Players Championship certainly has the feel of one this weekend. Garcia has never won a major tournament, coming up short on multiple occasions for three second-place finishes, and one could argue the pressure has ultimately been too much for the 33-year-old too many times in his career.

With Saturday’s drama still fresh and ready to come to a boiling point Sunday, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Garcia succumb to the kind of emotional performance that has facilitated his final-round failures in the past.

Prediction: Garcia posts a final-round 74 to finish nine-under and tied for eighth place.

 

The Westwood Factor

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Course conditions and some inconsistency caused Lee Westwood to post a 74 on Saturday, dropping him to 10th place in the process. Prior to that round, however, the 40-year-old was nine-under for the tournament with two tremendous rounds to open his weekend.

Westwood turned in a 69 on Thursday and a spectacular six-under 66 Friday, making the kind of move we’ve come to expect from the No. 12 golfer in the world. He’s not far off the pace, and another score like the one he turned in Friday could easily move Westwood into championship contention this afternoon.

Prediction: Westwood tallies a 68 Sunday and finishes second behind Woods, Wittenberg and Stenson.

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