Donald in contention at Sawgrass
Luke Donald had to put flight plans on hold as he suddenly found himself with a chance of winning the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
From 27th at the start of the last round Donald equalled the record for golf's richest event with a back-nine 30 containing six birdies.
The 34-year-old set the clubhouse target of nine under par with his 66 and was up into a tie for third.
A look at the scoreboard also told him he was only two behind and that was thanks to nervy bogeys by American Kevin Na at the fifth and sixth.
Na was battling a form of the dreaded yips with his swing and struggling on the greens as well and his dropped shots put him in a tie with compatriot Matt Kuchar.
Donald, who would go back to world number one if he finished solo fourth or better, was part of a group which also included Scot Martin Laird, out in a fine 33 with birdies at the second, seventh and ninth.
"Suddenly the putts clicked and I got on a nice little run," Donald said. "The wind direction was favourable and the greens are holding.
"I thought I was too far back, but I might have to stick around just in case.
"I dont think it's going to be quite enough, but I was going to fly back to Chicago and I'll put that on hold for a bit."
Lee Westwood had also had an opportunity to finish the week as number one following Rory McIlroy's missed cut, but the win he needed never looked likely long before he closed with a 77.
It left Westwood four over and down in 60th place, while another disappointing tournament for Tiger Woods ended with him scoring 73 for one under.
He was outside the top 30 for the third event in a row - a rare occurrence indeed.
Donald started his burst with a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th, then made putts of seven feet at the 15th and eight feet on the long 16th.
The infamous short 17th held no fears for him on this day. He hit his tee shot to five feet and his renowned bunker prowess rescued a par at the last after he had gone from the rough into sand over the green.
Laird, joint sixth after 54 holes, chipped dead on the long second, converted a 28-foot putt on the seventh and then got up and down from a bunker at the ninth.
Na had his third bogey in four holes on the short eighth and that put Kuchar out in front on his own - but not for long.
That was because Laird, playing supremely well, chipped to four feet on the long 11th and then holed from nearly 14 feet for his sixth birdie of the day.
They were 11 under, one ahead of Na and two in front of Donald and Zach Johnson.
The surprise was that last week's winner Rickie Fowler had fallen three back.
It was nip-and-tuck between Kuchar and Laird as the tension mounted. Kuchar went ahead again with a chip to two feet on the long ninth, Laird levelled again with a seven-footer at the short 13th, but then went from rough to sand on the next and after a poor bunker shot bogeyed to fall one behind again.
Laird was just short of the green in two at the long 16th and did wonderfully well to two-putt for birdie from 23 yards.
But just before that Kuchar, after three-putting the 11th for par, rolled in a 12-foot putt at the next, so there was still one between them.