PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Three consecutive birdies gave Adam Scott the lead in the Players Championship. No mistakes on the treacherous back nine at Sawgrass kept him there.
All that remains is to hold off a world-class collection of players on one of golf's most difficult courses.
Scott had a three-under-par 69 to take a two-shot lead into a final round that figures to be as entertaining as the course itself.
As wild as it was Saturday, he might not even have the lead when he tees off in the final group. Scott was at 10-under 206 and had 18 players within six shots -- including Tiger Woods.
"I'm far from winning the event," Scott said. "There's a full leaderboard of the best players behind me."
Frank Lickliter, who lives on the TPC at Sawgrass, closed with three birdies for a 68. He was joined at eight-under 208 by Kevin Sutherland, a co-leader going into the second round, who shot a 73.
Another shot back was a large group that included Ernie Els (72), Kenny Perry (69) and Phil Mickelson (72), who made a solid recovery on the 18th to save par.
Vijay Singh (72) was right behind at 210, along with Craig Parry, whose eight-under 64 showed that anything goes at any time in this tournament.
Playing early in slightly softer conditions, he had two eagles and six birdies and joins a long list of players chasing the $1.4-million prize in the PGA Tour's richest event.
Add the world's No. 1 player to the mix.
Woods wasted a great round -- and a great chance to get himself into serious contention -- when he hit seven-iron into the bleachers on the 18th hole to cap off a bogey-bogey finish for a 68.
Still, he was six shots behind in a tie for 16th, a strong improvement from the bottom of the pack two days ago and very much in the mix on the thrill-a-minute Stadium Course at Sawgrass.
"A lot of things can happen on this golf course, as we have all seen," Woods said. "You can shoot low rounds, and you can shoot high ones."
Scott was the only player in the final five groups to break 70 as a blazing sun continued to bake the greens.
"I'm three shots behind," Els said. "But on this golf course, you can make that up in a hurry."