Masters: Grading the third round at Augusta
Brandt Snedeker, Angel Cabrera and Matt Kuchar all get high marks. Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy not so much.
Standing on the No. 17 tee box two years ago on Sunday at the Masters, Jason Day thought playing partner Adam Scott was going to win the tournament. Scott had nearly holed out his tee shot on No. 16, and it looked like he had the tournament by the throat.
And if Scott didn't win it, it looked like Day would. He birdied the final two holes and watched the final two groups to see if it would be enough.
It wasn't. Both Aussies eventually ceded to Charl Schwartzel, who birdied each of his last four holes.
But Day was clutch on Nos. 17 and 18 that year.
On Saturday, he was the opposite of clutch on those same two holes. A share of the lead on the tee box at No. 17 turned into a two-stroke deficit after Day bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 coming home.
Day will still be in the mix this year, but a blown final two holes like that can get in your head going to Sunday.
Scott played beautifully, and he, too, will try to end the Australian streak of zero green jackets in 76 tournaments.
After his round, Scott told CBS' Bill Macatee:
"To win the Masters would be incredible, great for Australia. We've never looked better odds-wise going into a Sunday probably other than that one year in '96. Incredible that three out of four of us are right there. It's going to be a hell of a round tomorrow."
Don't forget about first-round leader (and fellow Australian) Marc Leishman, either. Leishman shot a third-round 72 and sits just two back of the lead.
Cabrera will try to keep all three Australians (and Snedeker) from the green jacket. The 2009 Masters champion has a pretty incredible streak going:
From @eliassports - 9th straight sub-par weekend Masters round for Angel Cabrera. Only streak longer: Tom Watson, 14 straight.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 13, 2013
Here are our grades for Saturday's third round.
|A||Tim Clark got in early with a 67, which put him within three of the lead, and he didn't come off that lead much all day as nobody really ran away with the tournament in the afternoon (he's four back now). He has finished in the top two here before and won't be afraid of anybody. Three South African winners in six years?|
|A||Amazingly, Angel Cabrera is in third place all-time in terms of most money won at the Masters. He trails only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in that category. Since his win in 2009, Cabrera only has one top-10 finish.|
|A||Matt Kuchar set himself up perfectly for a Sunday run at the green jacket with a third-round 69. HIs best finish at Augusta was third last year. He's certainly going to make a move at that on Sunday.|
|A||Brandt Snedeker shot an exceptional 69 and made birdies on three of the last six holes. He's trying to redeem his final-round 77 in 2008, when he had a chance to win.|
|B||Jason Day shot a 73, and bogeys at the final two holes were unfortunate, but he's in a good spot heading to Sunday.|
|B||For all the hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods' round on Saturday, I'd say a 70 isn't too bad. He let putts slip away from him on Nos. 8 and 15 but saved par on his last three holes coming in to set up a potential Sunday run.|
|D||Rory McIlroy shot a nasty 79 on Saturday, just one stroke off his all-time worst score at Augusta (in 2011). He made a nice putt on No. 18 to avoid that, though!|
Phil Mickelson shot a brutal 77 early on Saturday morning to knock himself out of contention for good. His worst finish since 1997 (when he was cut) was a T24 in 2007. It's going to take a heroic effort to beat that on Sunday.
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