Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - While the majority of the talk during the third
round was about Tiger Woods' two-stroke penalty assessed early Saturday, Adam
Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman were putting themselves into prime position
to become the first Australian to win the Masters.
Several Aussies have come close to victory at Augusta National, including a
second-place finish by Scott in 2011, but none have been able to don the green
That may change this year, as Scott, Leishman and Day have all put themselves
in contention entering Sunday's final round.
They each sit within two strokes of third-round co-leaders Brandt Snedeker and
"Three of us right there, knocking on the door tomorrow," said Scott.
All three definitely want to be on top of the leaderboard come the end of
Sunday's final round, but it would surely be a bittersweet defeat if they
could see a countryman snap Australia's 76-year Masters drought.
AUGUSTA BITES MCILROY AGAIN
Rory McIlroy seemed to have straightened out his up-and-down year entering the
Masters following his second-place finish at the Texas Open last week, but it
all fell apart Saturday as he carded a 7-over 79.
He entered the day within striking distance of second-round leader Jason Day
and was 1-under through six holes on Saturday before playing his final 12
holes at 8-over par to fall well off the pace.
That gruesome stretch included a triple bogey at the par-4 11th and a double
bogey at the par-5 15th.
"I feel like my strategy's right, it's just sometimes if your execution is
just that little bit off you pay a big price for it," said McIlroy.
The round was reminiscent of McIlroy's final-round collapse in 2011, where he
entered Sunday with the lead, but stumbled to an 80 to fall into a tie for
"The margins are very small on this course and when you get on the wrong side
of some of these slopes, you can't help but get a penalty," McIlroy said about
PHIL FALLS APART
Following his opening-round 71 on Thursday, Phil Mickelson stated how he would
start attacking the pins because the greens at Augusta National were as soft
as he has ever seen them.
So what did his aggressiveness get him? A 76 on Friday and a 77, which tied a
personal worst at the Masters, on Saturday that included back-to-back double
bogeys at the 11th and 12th.
The combination of those two rounds have moved him to the bottom of the
leaderboard at a three-day total of 8-over-par 224. Only 14-year-old Tianlang
Guan, Sandy Lyle and Keegan Bradley have posted worse scores.
"I just hit a couple of terrible shots," Mickelson said about his third round.
"But that's kind of the way it is out here. What I love about Augusta National
is when you play well you can score really well, like Nick Watney did the back
nine, shot a bunch under par, and if you play the way I did you shoot quite a
Mickelson's worst finish at the Masters was a tie for 46th in his debut back
in 1991. Unless he puts together a big round on Sunday, the three-time winner
will set a new mark in futility as he is currently tied with Ryo Ishikawa and
Ryan Moore for 56th.
GUAN SOAKING IT ALL IN
Tianlang Guan is not letting the fact that he has not recorded a birdie since
the 18th hole of his first round get in the way of enjoying his record-setting
appearance at the Masters.
Guan, who set a pair of records as the youngest player to start and make the
cut at Augusta National, recorded his worst score of the week with a 5-over 77
on Saturday, but is relishing every moment of his Masters experience.
"It's great for me, and I think I had a pretty good run in the first two days,
and today feels pretty good, not badly," said Guan. "I did a couple unlucky,
but that's golf."
His score has risen by two strokes in each of his first three rounds.
Despite sitting at 9-over par for the tournament, the 14-year-old China native
has already secured the low amateur honor as he was the lone amateur to make
* Guan was given a warning for slow play while on the 12th hole Saturday. Guan
became the first player to receive a slow-play penalty in major since Steve
Lowery at the 2004 PGA Championship on Friday.
* Tim Clark recorded the low round of the day with a 5-under 67, which moved
him into a share of seventh place at 3-under-par 213 for the tournament.
* The hardest hole of the third round was the par-3 fourth for the second
straight day as it played at an average of 3.52 strokes. It is also the
hardest hole overall thus far, playing to an average of 3.36 strokes through
* The easiest hole of the third round was the par-5 eighth, which played to an
average of 4.61 strokes. The easiest overall hole thus far has been the par-5
15th, which has played to an average of 4.69 strokes through three rounds.
The Sports Network