The British golfer Graeme McDowell double-bogeyed the 18th hole on his third round but had a one-stroke lead over South Korean K.J. Choi and American David Toms heading into the final round of the Players Championship.
Players had to return early to complete their third round, which was heavily delayed by rain on Sunday.
McDowell continued his consistent form with birdies on the 10th, 16th and 17th before a freakish piece of bad luck cost him two shots on the final hole.
The Northern Irishman drove to the right of the green to a promising position but his ball took a wicked kick off the moguls, rolled all the way across the green and into the water to the left.
Nonetheless McDowell looks a good bet for his first win of the year given the confident and uncomplicated way he has approached the TPC Sawgrass.
The 44-year-old Toms, however, without a win in five years, has been close to the lead since Saturday and had only a bogey on the 'island green' 17th to blemish another solid round.
American Nick Watney slipped to three shots off the lead after a dreadful back nine with a double on the 14th followed by bogeys on the next two holes.