Players Championship: Wyndham Clark’s ‘duff’ into dreaded 17th hole waters allows Xander Schauffele to nudge ahead

Players Championship: Wyndham Clark’s ‘duff’ into dreaded 17th hole waters allows Xander Schauffele to nudge ahead - Sports - News

Dramatic Turn of Events at The Players Championship as Xander Schauffele Takes the Lead from Wyndham Clark

In a thrilling turn of events at The Players Championship, held at the prestigious TPC Sawgrass, American golfers Xander Schauffele and Wyndham Clark engaged in an intense performance for the top spot during the third round. While both players displayed impressive golfing skills, it was a moment of misfortune that ultimately determined the outcome.

The scene was set for an exciting finale as Schauffele capitalized on Clark’s disastrous tee shot at the iconic 17th hole, taking a one-stroke lead. The par-three 123-yard island green has long been considered a formidable challenge for golfers worldwide, and this incident proved that it continues to live up to its reputation.

Clark, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, had looked set to match Schauffele’s score before his unfortunate mishap. However, as he approached the tee for the par-three 17th hole, a seemingly harmless piece of advice from caddie John Ellis resulted in an unexpected and costly error.

Opting for a different approach, Clark decided to play it safe with a shorter shot – a decision that ultimately proved detrimental when he hit the ball into the water, leaving him visibly disappointed and puzzled. “Why would you not tee the ball up when you can?” questioned Ewen Murray, Sky Sports Golf broadcaster, while Laura Davies added, “He just duffed it.”

Despite the setback, Clark demonstrated remarkable composure, taking only two strokes to recover from his error. He dropped his second attempt within seven feet of the cup and confidently rolled in for a bogey – arguably one of the best “damage limitation” efforts seen on the challenging 17th hole.

Meanwhile, Schauffele maintained his focus and carded a bogey-free round of 65, moving into a one-shot advantage over Clark. With $4.5 million at stake, Schauffele is now poised to clinch his eighth PGA Tour title and a first Players Championship victory.

Clark reflected on the incident, admitting that it was unfortunate but also an opportunity for redemption: “It’s unfortunate on a hole that’s so iconic and has a bunch of trouble to have your worst swing of the day. But I followed it with a great swing and a great putt. I’m hoping that’s a huge point in the tournament and we look back after tomorrow and say, ‘Hey, that was maybe the shot and the putt that meant it all.’”

Several other contenders are also within striking distance of Schauffele, including fellow American Brian Harman who shot a stellar 64 to sit just two strokes behind. World No. 6 Schauffele acknowledged the competition, commenting, “All in all, it was a bit of a grind. Wind was swirling a little bit for both of us. I’m going to try and enjoy myself and stay in my lane.”

With one round left, the stage is set for an exciting finish at The Players Championship. Stay tuned to find out who will ultimately prevail.