Sunday, October 2, 2022

Scottie Scheffler’s Masters lead cut after Cameron Smith makes charge to set up final round showdown

On six-over, Woods now has no chance of a sixth green jacket to equal Jack Nicklauis’s record. That task is even beyond his far-reaching compass. Instead he will enter the final day trying to post the best score possible. Of that there can be no doubt.

However, if it was not for his putter, he would be playing for rather more in his first competitive appearance in 17 months.

In fairness, there were plenty of mini disasters occurring on these famous greens. Yet their severity did not excuse Woods’ capitulation on the par-four fifth. Woods hit a fine drive, but his approach came up short, leaving 65 feet for a birdie. He then missed an eight-footer for a par and a three-footer for a bogey.

It was the 1,661st hole he had played at the Masters and never had he hit four putts on one green before. He looked and sounded exhausted afterwards. It was a chilly day and that clearly worked to the disadvantage of a veteran with aching bones and a sore back.

Woods will return Sunday and only knows one way to approach it. “Never give up,” he said. “Always chase your dreams. Everyday presents its own different challenges for all of us. I wake up and start to fight all over again. I just hope it’s a bit warmer”

This is Lee Westwood’s 22nd Masters and he said these temperatures were a first. “I’ve got my hand warmers,” he said, after a 73 put him on three-over and in the top 20. “I’ve never experienced weather like this round here. Yeah, it took some figuring out at times. It’s playing a little bit longer.”

Tommy Fleetwood had earlier shown what was possible with his 70 that took him to one-over and up from a tie for 38th into a tie for ninth. It puts the 31-year-old in position to record his best Augusta finish. Fleetwood has fallen to 47th in the world and this could be week to turn it all around.

“It’s great being out there when you are sort of in control and you’re getting the right side of the course, especially on a day like today,” Fleetwood said. “However, if you’re on the wrong side it’s going to be penal. It’s so hard to get it anywhere near the pin. I played amazing today.

“I mean, not saying I’m the best golfer in the word, but I played really, really well and I honestly seemed to be holing out all day. You know, I’m very happy to be done, to be fair. I’ll just watch guys come in. But I think most of all I’m just really pleased that I’m putting some good rounds of golf together and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Rory McIlroy is on the same mark after a 71 and although he needs something extremely special to become the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam – joining Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan – he can feel satisfied with his Saturday efforts.

Tyrrell Hatton, however, was fuming. He managed to shoot a 79 containing three birdies. Three holes were to blame. The seventh (a double-bogey six), the 13th (a treble-bogey eight) and the 16th (a double-bogey five) cost him seven strokes. On nine over, there are only three behind out of the 52 players who made the cut.

Shane Lowry fails to take advantage of blustery conditions

By Tom Cary, Senior Sports Correspondent in Augusta

Shane Lowry said he was hoping for cold, blustery conditions on day three of the Masters. And he got his wish. Unfortunately for the wind whisperer from County Offaly, he was unable to take full advantage.

Lowry, whose heroics in the wind and rain at Royal Portrush three years ago saw him crowned Open champion, will begin Sunday’s final round of the 86th Masters in a tie for fourth place after shooting a one-over-par 73.

The Irishman briefly threatened to build up a head of steam on the front nine, birdieing the par-five second and the par-three sixth to move into second place overall behind American Scottie Scheffler. But three bogeys in his closing 10 holes – and a couple of choice expletives which were captured on camera – saw him lose ground.

It was frustrating for the 35-year-old who went to bed last night doing a wind dance. “This is where I think I thrive, in these kinds of conditions,” he had told reporters on Friday evening. But he is still within touching distance of the leaders, who looked a little more bunched following Scheffler’s woes on 18.

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