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Vegas gets on track in '12, makes move at Players

Associated Press Published: May 12, 2012

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jhonattan Vegas has been relatively quiet in his second season on the PGA Tour.

No victories. Not even a top-10 finish. As many cuts missed as made.

So seeing the 27-year-old Venezuelan on the leaderboard at The Players Championship after the third round was nearly as surprising as his win at the Bob Hope Classic last year.

Vegas shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday, moved to 6-under 210 and put himself in the mix heading into the final round. He trailed leader Kevin Na by six strokes.

"I'm in a great place," Vegas said. "I feel like I'm in a good position because I don't feel like the leaders are going to go too far ahead. So within range, which is good, which is kind of what you want going into Sunday."

Vegas hasn't been in this position all year. Not really close, either.

He has missed 13 cuts since winning the Bob Hope in January 2011. He missed the cut in half of his 12 tournaments this year, and before this week, had broken 70 only five times in 37 rounds. His best finish was 27th at the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, which only had 27 players in the field.

He's in position to better that Sunday.

"Just got to keep doing what I've been doing," he said. "Just go do a little bit of practice, just go to the hotel with a good feeling and just try to bring the same energy tomorrow."

Vegas opened the third round birdie-eagle, exactly what he needed to gain some confidence on the always-challenging Stadium Course. He ended the day nearly as well, with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.

It was a considerably better feeling than his first trip to The Players last year, when he shot 78-77 and missed the cut.

"Last year I tried to be a little too aggressive on the course, and the course kind of spanked me a little bit," he said. "This year we are trying to do things a little bit different with a 2-iron, trying to hit it more in play and give myself more chances. That's kind of what I've been doing so far."


TIGER'S TALE: Tiger Woods shot even-par 72 in the third round, losing considerable ground to the leaders. But Woods was hardly discouraged with his play.

Coming off a 4-under 68 that was a putt or two away from being even better, Woods felt as if hit the ball as well Saturday as he has all year. He needed 33 putts, though, five more than he had in either of the first two rounds. He has made just two of 31 putts longer than 10 feet through three rounds.

"They are certainly not in the same category," he said of his latest rounds. "I played well today and didn't get anything out of that round. It was probably the most solid I've hit the golf ball all year actually. Even though I hit a couple off-line, but they were just hit dead-flush. I just got nothing out of the round."

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