Westwood and DeChambeau set for rematch at Players Championship

One week after their intense final round battle at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau are set to lock horns once again as they go head-to-head in the final grouping at The Players Championship.

It’s the first time the same two players are in the final group in consecutive PGA Tour events in more than 14 years after Vijay Singh and Adam Scott faced off at the season-ending Tour Championship in 2006 and the season-opening Mercedes Championship at Kapalua.

Westwood heads into the final round in the box seat after carding an impressive four-under-par 68 to open up a two-stroke lead over the American at TPC Sawgrass.

The Race to Dubai champion began the day one clear and had chances to increase his lead on the front nine but several birdie opportunities failed to drop. With the chasing pack hot on his heels, Westwood found his range after the turn with birdies at 10 and 11 before sinking a sublime 23ft birdie putt on the iconic 17th to reach 13 under.

“I was playing well all day and trying to be patient and wait for the good things to happen,” said Westwood, who is chasing a first PGA Tour title in 11 years. “I missed a few around the front nine for different reasons, kind of misread a couple of putts, miss-hit a couple of putts, hit some good putts that didn’t go in, and then one went in on 10, so that was kind of the impetus to kick on around the back nine.

“Obviously, 16 is a hole you look at and you think, this is a birdie chance, but 17 to that front flag, especially when it’s stuck at the top of the hill, you’re just trying to run it down there somewhere dead, so it’s a real bonus that it rolled in. It was a great moment and the 17th green always has an incredible atmosphere so it’s nice if you can make a birdie for the fans that have hung around all day.”

“I’m really looking forward to being paired with Bryson again. I enjoy playing with him. I enjoy his company and his caddie’s company. It’s like round 2, the rematch.”

DeChambeau, who edged Westwood to win at Bay Hill last week, shot a 67 to finish on 11 under and ensure we would see a repeat of last week’s final pairing.

“Westy is a fierce competitor and I look forward to the challenge, again, with him,” said the U.S. Open champion. “His driving is impeccable, his iron play is impeccable and he makes putts when he needs to. Fortunately for me last week I was able to get the job done and I think tomorrow is going to be an incredible battle.”

Chasing pack 

Justin Thomas shot the round of the day with a spellbinding eight under par 64, which started with four straight birdies and capped off with a 5-iron that stopped inches away from the hole on the par-5 16th for a tap-in eagle, to move in contention on 10 under par.

“I wish all rounds were that easy,” said the World No.3.  “I hit the ball beautifully, I drove it well, I hit a couple of squirrelly shots there at the end of the front nine, but the good part is that I knew why they were happening. I knew what the swing flaw was, what the physical mistake was, so I felt like I bounced back from that pretty well. I hit some really good shots on the back nine and I just know that I have to stay patient out here because you can make a lot of birdies, and hitting the driver well is helping.”

Doug Ghim, who is making his debut in The Players, is also three behind while Paul Casey, Jon Rahm and Brian Harman all sit four shots off the lead.


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