PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida, May 12 (Reuters) - A confident Rickie Fowler made his move at the Players Championship on Saturday by shooting a third round six-under par 66 leaving him two shots behind leader Matt Kuchar.
Fellow American Kuchar was three-under through 14 holes of his round, putting him at 11-under for the tournament.
Compatriot Kevin Na birdied the 12th hole to move to two-under for his round and 10-under for the tournament.
Fowler, who claimed his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow last week, took on the merciless TPC Sawgrass course in relaxed fashion and it paid off for him as he shot seven birdies.
The 23-year-old Californian will be disappointed to have ended his round with his only bogey - missing a putt from less than four feet after a poor effort from the fringe.
That was the only blemish on a round that confirmed Fowler’s rising status in the game and gives him a chance of winning his biggest prize yet.
“I drove it well, put myself in position off the tee, which is the key here, no matter what, especially with the wind blowing today. I was able to play out of the short grass as much as possible,” said Fowler.
Kuchar, joint overnight leader on eight-under with fellow Americans Na and Zach Johnson, stayed in front with a trio of birdies at the turn before a bogey on the 11th where he got in trouble in the rough after driving right and then two putted.
Kuchar, tied for third at last month’s Masters, recovered quickly with birdies on 12 and 13 before making a five on the par four 14th after again driving into rough to the right.
Na, taking a remarkable number of practice strokes before shots, was bogey free through his 13 holes with two birdies.
Zach Johnson was level par after his opening 13 holes while England’s Brian Davis and American Ben Curtis were four strokes off the lead but yet to complete their rounds.
Tiger Woods made an even-par 72 and is two-under for the tournament. (Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)