Simpson's 15-under total of 129 equaled the 36-hole tournament record set by Jason Day in 2015 and gave him a five-shot lead over South African Charl Schwartzel (66), New Zealand's Danny Lee (66) and Patrick Cantlay (68). Simpson played the final seven holes in even par with a three-putt bogey at the 14th and a filthy shot on the par-3 17th that led to birdie and felt like revenge after yesterday's double bogey.
Scott will be less pleased with his even par 72 which featured three bogeys and three birdies though the last of those, which came at the hard 18th, will have lifted his spirits.
Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth each had their best round at the TPC Sawgrass with 65s. He and Spieth are 11 shots back of Webb Simpson (-19), who has been absolutely terrific for the first three rounds.
The North Carolina native, and victor of the U.S. Open in 2012, had 248-yards to the flag at 11 but sent his second shot some 33-yards past the hole and into a rear greenside bunker. This time, he put his shot smartly on the green and listened to the growing cheer from the partying crowd as it slowly rolled within 3 feet, 4 inches of the cup.
It sent Simpson to a remarkable 19-under par and then seven shots clear of his rivals.
Meanwhile, Spieth had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine, three more birdies on holes 11-13, a bogey on the 14th and three straight birdies to close the round. Simpson's 18-footer for a par on the last summed up his performance. 17's a sand wedge in there, but I'll take it. "The difference is that I made some putts".
Simpson began the third round with a five-stroke lead and ended it with a seven-stroke lead on Saturday. Norman's record score of 264 is in play for the final round, and this could require a Sunday charge by someone and plenty of help from Simpson for the outcome to change.
"I'm 15-under through two days here, which is a lot lower than I ever would have expected to be", he said.More news: Robinson Cano Suffers Broken Right Hand
"I think I play the same no matter what", Johnson said, though he added that no lead is necessarily safe. I didn't know anything about a course record.
"I'm trying not to dwell there".
"I just didn't capitalise on the opportunities I had", he said.
Johnson is among three players to lose a six-shot lead in the final round, last fall in Shanghai. All in all, with a five-shot lead, I think it was a good, solid day, but I'd like to clean up those mistakes and come out tomorrow with an even sharper round. It was a huge confirmation of his overall play, and it came 24 hours after he hit the ball in the water on that famous hole. "I just want to come out ready and not feel like I'm rushed and stick to the same routine we started with on Thursday and kept throughout the week".
"Like at the last I had 196-yards into the green and I was hitting 9-iron and so the ball is going a long way and the golf course is playing short".
For more on Woods' third round, check out SN's hole-by-hole recap.
"I mean to be 8-under there through 12, realistically I probably could have got a couple more out of it and got to 10 for the day", he said.
At 9-under through 54 holes the 2016 victor is a full 10 shots behind but is T4 on the leaderboard and just three strokes out of second place. I don't make birdie at 16.