Maggert turns back time at Players
Saturday, May 11, 2013
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s been 10 years since Jeff Maggert’s last decent finish at the Players Championship.
That was in 2003, when a 39-year-old Maggert finished T-11. He has a couple top 3s here, as well, but those also came in his 30s.
Now 49, Maggert finds himself back in contention at TPC Sawgrass after shooting 6-under 66 on Saturday. He made seven birdies and no bogeys in his first 17 holes before bogeying the par-4 18th. More impressively, he needed just 22 putts to get around the Players Stadium course after totaling 59 putts in the first two rounds.
“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 gameplan 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.”
He might have joked about having the goal of just making the cut this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, but don’t let him fool you. He can still see himself winning this golf tournament.
“My expectations are the same as they were 10 years ago. . . . You know, it just doesn’t happen quite as often as it used to,” Maggert said.
This is Maggert’s 20th Players and since his first appearance in 1991, he’s now made the cut 14 times and logged 66 rounds. He’s also got three PGA Tour victories, so he has closed the deal on a few occasions.
But even with plenty of experience to rely on coming down the stretch, don’t think being in contention has gotten any easier over the years.
“When I was in my 30s I never really thought that it would be difficult to really stay focused and stay competitive in my late 40s,” Maggert said. “I just assumed that it was going to be easy. . . . It almost takes more focus now than what I had 10 or 12 years ago because there’s so many distractions outside of golf, family things that I enjoy doing, and when I’m at home I just really don’t put the effort in that I used to.”
Time is not on his side. That much is evident. He’s made just two cuts in his last seven Tour events, and he’s failed to finish better than T-46 this season.
“It’s funny, the older I get, some of the struggles that I’ve been through, I joke a little bit about that,” Maggert said. “I’m still very competitive on the inside and you want to play well every week, but it’s just tough just trying to keep it together and keep your health in good shape.”
That’s been the hardest hurdle for Maggert – "One week my wrist hurts, the next week my shoulder hurts," he said. – although his game has helped him clear the ones he’s faced so far this week.
Now he just has one big hurdle left, although it remains to be seen how much Maggert has left in the tank for the final round.