Scottie Scheffler takes one-shot lead into final round of Masters

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

World number one Scottie Scheffler will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Masters after a rollercoaster third day at Augusta National.

Bidding to win a second Masters title in three years, Scheffler carded a third round of 71 to finish seven under par, a shot ahead of fellow American Collin Morikawa, whose 69 was one of just two sub-70 scores on Saturday.

Max Homa is two shots off the lead after a 73 containing 17 pars and one bogey, with Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg a shot further back, the 24-year-old having only turned professional 10 months ago.

No player has won the Masters on their major championship debut, but Aberg has defied the odds ever since joining the paid ranks, winning on both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and justifying his wild card by helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Aberg and Ryder Cup team-mate Nicolai Hojgaard both have the chance of becoming the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win on their Masters debut, with Hojgaard briefly holding the outright lead following a hat-trick of birdies from the eighth.

But Hojgaard then bogeyed the next five holes and will start the final round five shots off the pace.

That looked set to be the case, at best, for overnight joint leader Bryson DeChambeau, who duffed a pitch on the 15th into the water to run up a double-bogey seven and carved his drive on the 18th deep into the trees.

The former US Open champion had other ideas though, pitching back on to the fairway and holing out from 77 yards for the most unlikely of birdies to close within four shots of Scheffler.

Scheffler had suffered his own double bogey on the 10th and also bogeyed the 11th to fall two shots behind playing partner Hojgaard, but holed from 30 feet for an eagle on the 13th and birdied the 18th to claim the outright lead.

“I feel like my game is in a good spot and has been for a while,” said Scheffler, who boasted form figures of 1-1-2 coming into the week.

“Major championships are always very challenging and it’s nice having a lead going into tomorrow. The eagle on 13 was extremely important.”

Morikawa and DeChambeau had both hit the 13th green in two but three-putted for par as the hard and fast greens continued to pose problems for the players, despite far calmer conditions than over the first two days.

Playing alongside Tiger Woods, who slumped to a career-worst 82, Tyrrell Hatton admitted he was “devastated” to four-putt the 18th to record a third round of 73 and slip to three over par.

“For the kid inside of me, playing with Tiger at the Masters, like that’s really cool. That’s certainly not lost on me,” Hatton said.

“But at the same time I’m going out there competing, trying to put together the best round I can and trying to move up the leaderboard, which for 17 and a half holes I feel like I did a really good job of.

“Yeah, I’m devastated, to be honest. It’s tough to take. I don’t know how I have to play golf around here to shoot under par.”

Rory McIlroy was alongside Hatton on three over after a 71 which effectively ended his chances of the win he needs to complete a career grand slam, while Woods’s 82 was his worst score in the Masters by four shots, a day after making a record 24th consecutive halfway cut.

“I didn’t have a very good warm-up session and I kept it going all day,” said Woods, who insisted he would contest the final round on Sunday.

“Just hit the ball in all the places that I know I shouldn’t hit it. And I missed a lot of putts. Easy, makeable putts. I missed a lot of them.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm admitted he had a “sour feeling” at not being in contention following a third round of 72 which left him five over.

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