Jeff Maggert eyes 1st win since 2006

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- When inclement weather brought the third round of The Players Championship to a halt at 4:09 p.m. ET Saturday, Jeff Maggert already was finished with a bogey-free 6-under 66 that vaulted him to 9 under.

The 49-year-old three-time PGA Tour winner had started the day eight shots back of second-round leader Sergio Garcia. When play was suspended for the day hours later, he held the clubhouse lead, three shots behind David Lingmerth, who was at 12 under through No. 17.

Entering the Players, Maggert, the former Texas A&M star, would have been happy just to make the cut at Sawgrass, his 20th appearance in the tournament. His best finish in 12 starts this season is a tie for 47th at the Humana Challenge in January.

"I felt like this golf course would kind of fall into my favor, the way I've been hitting the ball this year, and it was just a matter of trying to make a few putts," Maggert said. "Kind of the game plan for the weekend was to try to get somewhere to 10, 11, 12 under, but I didn't expect to do most of that today."

Maggert is in a phase of his career on the PGA Tour in which he's mostly trying to hold onto his playing privileges until he graduates to the Champions Tour next February.

"When I was in my 30s, I never really thought that it would be that difficult to really stay focused and stay competitive in my late 40s," he said. "I just assumed that it was going to be easy, even though all the guys in front of me said, 'Hey, it's not that easy when you get in your late 40s.'

"They're right. It takes more focus now than what I had 10 to 12 years ago, because there are so many distractions outside of golf. I just really don't put the effort in that I used to probably 15 to 20 years ago."

But a shuffling of priorities doesn't mean Maggert doesn't want to win.

"My expectations are the same as they were 10 years ago," said Maggert, who last won the 2006 FedEx St. Jude Classic. "I expect to play well and put myself in a position to be competitive on Sunday."

With the completion of the third round moving to Sunday morning due to the weather delay, Maggert has somewhat of a wait to learn his position on the leaderboard heading into the final round.

Another 66 might be good enough to make him the oldest winner in Players history.