Saturday At The Masters: Scheffler Maintains His Lead On A Difficult Day
Recapping a long, brutal third round at Augusta National. Plus, Quotes, the 13th hole's new Saturday pin, ESPN's strong ratings day, CBS notes and Reads.
During a traditional stroll to check the third round hole locations, I was struck by how few were accessible. The wintery forecast panned out as the but the Masters committee did not back off its traditional tough Saturday setup. With only two tee boxes per hole and greens speeding up as the day unfolded, there may not have been an easier version of Augusta National Saturday.
Couple the grind with players often taking 2-3 minutes to wait for greens to clear, or worse, their preferred wind, and CBS signed off a half-hour late. The last twosome took over four-and-half-hours.
But if it’s any consolation to the affiliates, Scottie Scheffler at least made things interesting with a quick hook off the 18th tee. It set up a compelling seven-minute ruling under the eye of referee Kevin Feeney.
“Obviously I didn’t hit a good tee shot,” Scheffler said after the round. But when he saw the white jumpsuit-clad forecaddie panicking things turned tense for the easy going Texan. “I was like, oh, crap, wonder what's going on here.”
His Titleist 7 was found before time expired. Upon reaching the ball, Scheffler took control of the situation, asserting his right to move pine needles to Feeney after deciding to take an unplayable and even asking to check under the ball to ensure he was not dropping on an embedded tree root. The CBS audio team grabbed all the sound and the announce team largely sat out the moment except for short bursts of commentary. Dottie Pepper confirmed everything had been done by the book and Scheffler wasted little time over the ball. He scorched a 3-iron using only a 225-yard “adjusted” number to clear the front greenside bunker. It was an astounding strike under the circumstances, eventually traveling around 250 yards.
A two-putt from off the back of 18 salvaged bogey and left Scheffler three ahead of Cameron Smith, who posted a stunning 68.
The two top world ranking points earners of 2022 will head out at 2:40 ET Sunday.
9: Rounds under par Saturday
1: Round in the 60s (Cameron Smith, 68)
7: Players under par through 3 rounds
80: High round (Harold Varner, Adam Scott)
17: Birdies Scheffler has made through 54 holes, including 6 Saturday
74.299: Round 3 scoring average
36: number of putts by Tiger Woods in round three, including four three-putts and a four-putt at the 5th hole.
78: Woods’ highest score in The Masters.
Sunday’s Official Forecast: “Temperatures will quickly cool into the 40s tonight and into the mid to upper 30s by daybreak with frost likely developing in the predawn hours. After the cold start Sunday morning, sunny skies will help temperatures warm into the low 70s during the afternoon with a lighter breeze. Low: 36F High: 72F Winds: W 7-14 mph”
Tommy Fleetwood on the relentless conditions: “I think 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. I made what, three -- I made four birdies today, so you're not -- nobody is really going to be stiffing anything.”
Jon Rahm on Scottie Scheffler’s swing: “Resemblance of Greg Norman's footwork, right? That sliding right foot. I think a lot of people like to point out the unusual stuff in somebody's swing, but clearly it helps him deliver the club face the way he needs to. It works for each one of us, right?”
Bubba Watson on Scheffler: “What I'm impressed with is his short game. I've always been impressed with his short game. Seems that even when he hits it off the green, he can get up and down, make it a ten-footer, making a six-footer. That's what you've got to do around here and all the other golf courses he's won at this year. Obviously, having Teddy on the bag, you know, calm him down. Been around this place, obviously. Should help him a lot. Doesn't mean he's going to win. Just means it's definitely going to help.”
Marc Leishman on the course changes: “15, I think if there was no wind, it would be all right. We're playing that straight into the wind. So I think the design of that is great. I think both the changes on 11 and 15 are unbelievable. I think both made them better holes. Yeah, 15's just so hard because it's into the wind, and if you hit it off the back of that green, you can very easily chip it into the water. I think you'll see quite a few guys do that today. Even if you layup, you're worried about spinning it back into the water because of that wind.”
Tiger Woods on his awful day putting: “I just could not get a feel for getting comfortable with the ball. Posture, feel, my right hand, my release, I just couldn't find it. Trying different things, trying to find it, trying to get something, taking practice strokes and just trying to feel the swing and the putter head, trying to get anything, and nothing seemed to work.”
Cameron Davis on what a 10-handicap would have shot Saturday: “You could play really well and shoot below 100 if you make a couple of putts, I reckon. It depends if they're a low ball hitter or a high ball hitter. There's a 20-shot difference between the two.”