Players Championship 2019 Leaderboard: Live Updates, Top Storylines for Saturday

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 15:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the second round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 15, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The third round of the 2019 Players Championship is under way on Saturday with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood sharing the overnight lead into the weekend.

The pair sat on 12-under par after Friday's play, three shots ahead of Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter, Brian Harman and Abraham Ancer at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

One shot behind that quartet are Jason Day, Kevin Kisner and Keith Mitchell, but it could be all change on moving day.

Here's how the top of the leaderboard is shaping up ahead of Saturday, and read on for a look at some of the major storylines to watch out for:

Tommy Fleetwood (-12)

Rory McIlroy (-12)

Jim Furyk (-9)

Ian Poulter (-9)

Brian Harman (-9)

Abraham Ancer (-9)

Jason Day (-8)

Kevin Kisner (-8)

Keith Mitchell (-8)

Full leaderboard can be found on PGATour.com.


Rory McIlroy Bidding to End 12-Month Winless Run

For a player of his calibre, McIlroy has endured a barren run in terms of winning tournaments in recent years.

The Northern Irishman has not won since he topped the leaderboard at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March last year, and that was 18 months after his previous win at the Tour Championship in 2016.

He's got off to a strong start in Florida. After shooting a five-under 67 on Thursday, he improved with a 65 on Friday.

After an inauspicious start to the second round with a bogey, McIlroy produced six birdies and an eagle at the 17th:


EAGLE for @McIlroyRory. He's 1 back of the lead. 🦅 #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/TNJV04AMq3

TSN's Bob Weeks put his round in perspective, while Fox Sports' Shane Bacon thoroughly enjoyed watching him in action:

Bob Weeks @BobWeeksTSN

Over his last 22 rounds, Rory McIlroy is 76 under par. His 65 at TPC Sawgrass on Friday gives him a share of the 36-hope lead at #ThePlayersChampionship

Shane Bacon @shanebacon

Rory in total control his game is the best to watch in the world. Duct tape me to the couch this weekend.

Although he may not have been winning tournaments, it's clear the 29-year-old has been playing well.

The Players Championship will be won on Sunday, but another strong round on Saturday can set him up for a run at the trophy and an end to his surprising dry spell.


Can Furyk Build on Incredible 2nd Round?

After a quiet opening round from Tour veteran Jim Furyk saw him card 71 on Thursday, few would have predicted that he would be near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend.

The American produced the round of the day on Friday, though, grabbing eight birdies:


One off the course record for @JimFuryk! He posts the round of the day @THEPLAYERSChamp. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/ge0PAFMnet

The PGA Tour's Mike McAllister offered some impressive insight into the American's effort:

Mike McAllister @PGATOUR_mikemc

A few Jim Furyk notes after his 8-under 64 @THEPLAYERSChamp... Lowest score in 80 career PLAYERS rounds 3rd time in 23 PLAYERS starts he's shot in 60s in 2nd rd 43rd career round hitting every fairway (14/14) 215th bogey-free round

Furyk has come close to winning the Players Championship on several occasions, per Golf Channel's Will Gray:

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

Jim Furyk, 48 years young, now sharing the lead at Sawgrass. Has finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th at this event since 2003.

What Furyk must now do, if he's to have a chance of winning golf's unofficial "fifth major," is to maintain his momentum and build on it with another solid round.

Shooting another eight-under 64 is unlikely, but he can put some pressure on McIlroy and Fleetwood if he can make up the three-shot gap and perhaps get beyond 12-under par ahead of the final round.