AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The 2017 Masters is officially a seven-horse race. Well, it’s probably a four-horse race, but it’s officially a seven-horse race. Consider the following stat and keep in mind that there almost exclusively big dogs atop this leaderboard.
27 of last 30 Masters winners were at/within 3 of lead thru 54 holes.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 9, 2017
Could somebody who is 1 under shoot a 63 to win this thing going away? Sure, but I could also enter U.S. Open qualifying this summer and win the second major of the year at Erin Hills. In other words ... no.
So let’s take a look at the seven golfers who can still win the Masters along with their current scores. Anybody outside of this would be a complete stunner.
Justin Rose (-6): This is Rose’s fourth post-round lead at Augusta National, but his first coming outside the first round. He knows how to shut down major championships, though, and he won’t fade badly. He might not win, but he’ll be in the mix until the very end.
Sergio Garcia (-6): Really anything could happen with Garcia on Sunday, and I would believe it. He could shoot 66 for the win, or he could shoot 76 and finish outside the top 10. It’s all in play.
Rickie Fowler (-5): Fowler is my pick to win. If he hits it well at all, he could shoot 67. He has been lights out with his wedges and putter all week. Orange and green will be worn on Sunday evening in Augusta. Also, Fowler could be the answer to the trivia question, “Who broke Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo’s record of the largest deficit overcome after the first 18 holes at the Masters?”
Largest 1st round deficit overcome to win Masters is 7 shots, twice (05 Tiger, 90 Faldo). Players 8+ back: Fowler, Rahm, Day, Spieth, Scott— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) April 6, 2017
Jordan Spieth (-4): I’m concerned Spieth could run out of gas late on Sunday. It’s mentally taxing to chase for as long as Spieth has chased. He’s built to win at this place, but running down Garcia, Rose and Fowler from deep in the pack is a move only meant for all-time thoroughbreds. We might find on Sunday that Spieth is one.
Ryan Moore (-4): The lurker! Moore is just hanging around back there two strokes back. His best finish here is T12 in 2015, and he has missed the cut in two of the last three years. Also, he only has two top 10s at majors. Moore is a really terrific player, but I’m not sure he’s a Masters champ.
Charley Hoffman (-4): The Hoff has been impressive this week. Everyone interested in better stories has counted him out from Day 1, and he’s hung tough. Other than an egregious error on No. 16 on Saturday when he went in the water, he did everything right in Round 3. He or Moore could Danny Willett their way to the title.
Adam Scott (-3): The Australian probably has to drop a 67 to have a chance. He is quite capable of such a thing.
Adam Scott's final rounds in the Masters:— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) April 9, 2017
69 (won playoff)