PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Webb Simpson didn’t back off at The Players Championship with another shot he wasn’t planning to make, atonement on the island-green 17th and a 4-under 68 that stretched his lead to a record seven shots Saturday.

He started out with an 8-foot birdie putt on the opening hole. His shot from the back bunker to a front pin on the par-5 11th raced across the green and into the cup for an unlikely eagle.

And that island on the par-3 17th was no problem at all. A day after making double bogey to ruin his bid to break the course record, Simpson rapped in a 3-foot birdie putt.

It added to a 19-under 197, tying the 54-hole record set by Greg Norman on a soft course. And the 32-year-old Simpson has history on his side. No one has ever lost a seven-shot lead in the final round in PGA Tour history.

Tiger Woods had his best round on the Stadium Course with a 65, despite playing the final six holes in 1 over. Jordan Spieth made two bogeys in his round of 65 as both charged up the leaderboard in the morning with big crowds and loud cheers.

That got them into the top 10, but they made up only three shots on Simpson. They still were 11 shots behind.

“All those things that have happened, I’d love to know them if I win tomorrow,” Simpson said. “But I’m trying not to dwell there. I’m trying to just look forward, do what I always do on a Saturday night of a golf tournament and get ready tomorrow morning. And that’s kind of where I’m at.”

Danny Lee was in second after a bogey-free round, but only two birdies on the par 5s on the back nine. He shot a 70.

Dustin Johnson at least improved his chances of staying No. 1 with four birdies over his final 10 holes for a 69. He was in third place, nine shots behind, and figured all he could do Sunday was go as low as he could and see where it led.

Johnson is among six players to lose a six-shot lead in the final round, last fall in Shanghai. And with danger lurking at every corner on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, that would suggest that the crystal and largest paycheck in golf – just shy of $2 million – doesn’t belong to Simpson just yet.

He just hasn’t shown any signs of cracking, though.

His only two bogeys came on the toughest par-3 at Sawgrass (No. 8) and a three-putt from 40 feet on the 14th, the toughest hole in the third round. He finished the day with a par putt from 18 feet.

Three PGA champions – Jason Dufner (66), Jimmy Walker (70) and Jason Day (71) – were at 9-under 207, along with Xander Schauffele (71).

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