Players Championship: Sergio Garcia shoots 65 to top Sawgrass leaderboard at halfway
Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods will form a mouthwatering final pairing in round three of the Players Championship.
Last Updated: 11/05/13 7:22pm
Garcia, who won this title in 2008, is in pole position to pocket another £1.1million from the event after shooting a seven-under 65 on Friday to take a one-shot lead.
Starting from the 10th, Garcia opened with six straight pars before birdies at the 16th and 18th, and after a bogey on the first picked up five birdies in succession from the second.
Another birdie on the eighth saw the world number 15 home in 31 and primed to add to the £2.2million he has earnt from 13 previous appearances in the event.
Woods, who has won three times this year but only once at Sawgrass (way back in 2001), fired a second successive five-under 67 to be Garcia's nearest challenger at 10-under.
The world number one had an eagle and five birdies on his card as well as two bogeys and hit 15 greens out of 18 in an impressive display of ball-striking.
Lee Westwood, another former world number one, is also right in the hunt at nine-under - just two back.
For the second day running, the Englishman kept a bogey off his card and an eagle and four birdies meant he was round in six-under 66.
Westwood shares third place with 2009 Sawgrass winner Henrik Stenson (67) and American Kevin Chappell (66).
Defending champion Matt Kuchar and Masters winner Adam Scott are handily placed at seven-under but, as usual in this event, there were plenty of big-name casualties with Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Ernie Els all missing the cut.
World number two Rory McIlroy, whose opening 66 was his lowest score at Sawgrass by six shots, finished the day five back after an up-and-down 72.
An afternoon starter, McIlroy quickly closed the gap to Ryder Cup team-mate Garcia with a birdie on the par-five second but then bogeyed the seventh after driving into water, the eighth after another wayward tee-shot and the ninth after his approach hit a tree and left him blocked out by more trees in a bunker.
McIlroy, who could reclaim the world number one ranking with a win if Woods finishes worse than 13th, repaired most of the damage with a birdie on the 10th - where his approach almost span back into the hole - and another on the 12th and then parred the final six.