Saturday was a great day at Augusta National, and it’s not all because of Jordan Spieth.
But let’s start with Spieth.
The 2015 Masters champion, who famously melted down in last year’s final round with the nightmare on 16, made a huge charge on moving day at the 2017 Masters. Spieth posted a 68 and gave us the shot of the day with his beautiful approach with a wedge on 15. This came after Spieth ripped it far left off the tee. He wound up birdieing that hole, and if he gets another green jacket on Sunday, that will likely be the shot that he most credits with getting him there.
Elsewhere, outside of Spieth, big names played consistently, and there was only a brief moment where Charley Hoffman’s lead was more than two strokes. For a while there, it was, “Charley Hoffman is still beating the big boys?” … and then Hoffman had a devastating moment on 16.
Credit to Sergio Garcia for dodging trouble and staying near/at the top throughout the day. Big names that couldn’t make a charge: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Fred Couples.
Look at the leaderboard, and it’s hard not to find a lot to love about the 2017 Masters. Sunday has great potential. Here’s what to know about the top seven, and remember, Sunday’s coverage on CBS begins at 1 p.m. ET.
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T1 Justin Rose (-6): A brilliant finish. Rose was looking just-OK through the first nine at even par -- and then the charge came. Rose went off with birdies on 12, 13 and 15, then consecutive birdies to close out his round on 17 and 18. It was a roar of a day to finish with a 67 and get to the top of the leaderboard. Rose has never won the Masters, coming closest in 2015 when he tied for second. His only major win came in 2013 at the U.S. Open.
T1 Sergio Garcia (-6): A few slip-ups (two bogeys), but three birdies kept him on pace. Sometimes you just want to find footing amid the chaos of moving day, and Garcia did that. Rare is the spot that Sergio finds himself atop the leaderboard in a major championship heading into Saturday and Sunday, but that’s what we have here. A great final pairing with Rose is on deck for Sunday. Garcia’s an old 37, having been a known golfer in the public eye almost half his life. He’s chasing down that elusive first major.
3. Rickie Fowler (-5): He shot a 71 and kept his composure throughout the round, even if he left a few birdies out there. Fowler certainly played patiently. He’s in position to win his first major thanks to his par saves on Saturday. Quite the pairing for Sunday here as Fowler will trade shots with …
T4 Jordan Spieth (-4): Spieth’s 68 tied with Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood for the second-best round on Saturday (behind Rose). If he wins, Spieth will set a Masters record by coming back from 10 strokes to win a jacket. The record is seven: Nick Faldo in 1990, Tiger Woods in 2005. Spieth is chasing his third major. He’s been in the top four entering the final day of the Masters four consecutive years, which is unprecedented.
T4 Ryan Moore (-4): The small guy with the growing game. Moore is 34, has never won a major championship and posted a 69 to slip under the radar. His best finish in a major championship came almost 11 years ago when he tied for ninth at the PGA Championship. His best Masters finish was in 2015: He took 12th.
T4 Charley Hoffman (-4): Hoffman held the outright lead for much of Saturday. Then he sent his tee shot into the water on 16, which threw him off the top. Hoffman has only finished top-10 in a major once, and that was the 2015 Masters. Other than that, he’s never done better than 35th. He’s got four PGA Tour wins to his name.
7. Adam Scott (-3): Still within striking distance thanks to nice back-to-back showings of 69s on Friday and Saturday. Scott has just one major to his name: the 2013 Masters. The 36-year-old Aussie has the composure, ball-striking ability and knowledge of the course to be considered a legitimate threat. Three shots back for him is doable, but ideally, he knows he’s got to shoot a 67 on Sunday to have a shot.
T11 Rory McIlroy (E)
T17 Fred Couples (+1)
T17 Jason Dufner (+1)
T21 Phil Mickelson (+2)
27. Jason Day (+3)
T28 Hideki Matsuyama (+4)
T28 Martin Kaymer (+4)
53 Ernie Els (+14)
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