Sweden’s David Lingmerth drained a birdie putt at 17 to seize a two-stroke lead at the Players Championship, where darkness halted Saturday’s third round.
The US PGA Tour rookie was two strokes in front of 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and fellow Swede Henrik Stenson when play was suspended.
The horn had sounded to signal the end of play, but Lingmerth had the option of completing the hole he was on.
In the waning light he had hit his tee shot at the par-three 17th, featuring TPC Sawgrass’ famous island green, to nine feet.
He calmly rolled it in to get to four-under for the day, 12-under for the tournament.
Woods and Garcia, playing in the last group, opted to stop after teeing off on 15.
Play had been halted for just under two hours when thunderstorms moved through the area earlier in the afternoon.
At that time, Stenson was the Swede in front, with Garcia and Woods in pursuit.
However, Lingmerth, a 25-year-old who attended the University of Arkansas, put himself atop the leaderboard with an eagle at the par-five 16th.
Overnight leader Garcia nabbed his first birdie of the day after the break, picking up a stroke at the ninth hole to get back to even par for the day after a bogey at the par-five second.
Garcia said in a television interview that he was distracted at the second when Woods pulled a club out of his bag as the Spaniard was hitting his second shot.
“Well, obviously, Tiger was on the left, and it was my shot ... you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit, and right as I was in the top of my backswing, I think he must have pulled like a five-wood or a three-wood and, obviously, everybody started screaming. So that didn’t help very much,” Garcia said.
Woods got up-and-down for birdie from the right-greenside bunker at the same hole, but bogeyed the next. The world No. 1 — a three-time winner on the US tour this season — parred the next 11 holes.
“It was a day of grinding,” Woods said. “Some of these pins are such sucker pins. As hot as it was, the ball was flying.”
US veteran Jeff Maggert was the leader in the clubhouse on nine-under 207 after a six-under 66 — completed hours before play was halted for the day.