March 16 (Reuters) - Americans Brandt Snedeker and Ollie Schniederjans surged into contention by carding seven-under-par 65s in the third round at the Players Championship in Florida on Saturday.
Their performances came after they had started the day nine strokes behind halfway leaders Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida.
After benign conditions for the first two rounds, the breeze switched to the north on the back of a cool front, but scores were still hot.
Snedeker notched seven birdies and Schniederjans was helped by an eagle at the par-five ninth, where he holed out from 70 yards.
They signed for 10-under 206, finishing as the halfway leaders set off at 12-under.
“I saw this coming all week, had some great practice rounds,” nine-times PGA Tour winner Snedeker said.
He said he had played well the first two rounds, only to spoil his score with a double-bogey each day.
“I was really focusing on not making a bogey (today), given my first two days, how well I played,” Snedeker said.
“I was able to hit some quality iron shots and make some good putts.”
Tiger Woods also started the day nine shots back, but went in the wrong direction with a 72 that included three bogeys on the front nine, and three birdies on the back.
Woods appeared in good spirits, however, flashing his beaming smile on several occasions as he joked around with playing companion Kevin Na.
“I struggled hitting the putts hard enough,” he said.
Irishman Seamus Power enjoyed an early St Patrick’s Day present when he made a hole-in-one at the 155-yard third.
He shot 73 for two-under 214.
There have been three aces this week, one each at the third, 13th and 17th holes. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina)