Augusta, Ga. (AP) — Scotty Scheffler spent all day defending against the cold wind at the Masters, slipping on a vest over his layers of clothing after every shot at every hole. Another round and her next wardrobe change might be a green jacket.
Schaeffler looked oblivious to the harsh conditions on Saturday, at one point extending his lead to six shots. He held onto the last nine at Augusta National during a wild and windy ride, running for 1-under 71 with a bogey from the trees on the 18th and a three-shot lead over Cameron Smith.
Smith had a bottom round of 68, the only player to break 70, and gave himself one more shot to win the Masters in his first start since his win at The Players’ Championship. He was the runner-up to Dustin Johnson two years earlier.
Sungjae Im (71), who was also the runner-up in 2020, was the only other player to get within five shots.
Tiger Woods wanted to find a way to get into the red numbers and wound up at the Masters with his worst score ever, 78 which will be remembered for his first four-putt at Augusta National. He also had four three-puts and was 16 shots behind.
“You’d think I’d have figured it out somewhere along the line, but it didn’t,” he said.
On such a cold day—the wind chill was in the upper 40s of the day—it was probably a warmup that Scheffler might expect on Sunday at Augusta National, usually the biggest theaters of the majors, especially those Those who want their first major. ,
The last player who failed to get a lead of three shots or more to go into the final round was 21-year-old Rory McIlroy in 2011.
Schaeffler thought he could turn it into a runaway when he made his fourth birdie of the round on a par-5 eighth and extended his lead to six shots.
But then on par-3 12th a shot from the front bunker went over the green. He bounced back with a birdie and guarded the back right pin for the bogey in the 14th to come right down the monstrous mound, and a three-put par-5 for another bogey in the 15th.
Even after his best shot of the round, a 4-foot approach to birdie on the 17th, he ran into major problems on the 18th. He slammed his tee shot into the canopy of trees and bent branches, leaving him with no option but to take a penalty drop on a pine straw.
Bold as ever, he broke his approach from 240 yards over the green and just over the back, leaving him two putts to keep his distance.
Schaeffler was at 9-under 207.
Sunday will be the first time since the 2015 PGA Championship with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth making the final pairing of the top 10 major featured players in the world.
Schaeffler and Smith may also be two of golf’s hottest players.
Schaffler has won three of his last five tournaments, all against some of the strongest fields of the year, a run that has propelled the 25-year-old from Dallas to No. 1 in the world.
Smith began the year by taking down former No. 1 player, Jon Rahm, with a record score to equalize in Kapalua. His latest feat was winning the next best thing to a Major, The Players Championship, last month.
“It means I can accomplish it, I guess, when I’m up against the best people in the world. It’s a good feeling to be. It’s earned. It’s not given to you,” Smith said. So I’ll have to go there tomorrow and play really good golf again, probably the same as today. Hope everything will be fine. ,
Woods finished because Schaffler was still comfortably ahead, and the five-time Masters champion looks like he’s seen it before. Players hit peaks all the time, and it’s especially sweet when that run is in the spring with the Masters on the calendar.
Woods won one after another before his Masters victory in 2001. Jordan Spieth won and a pair were runners-up when he won his green jacket in 2015. Fred won the doubles twice and was runner-up twice since 1992. victory in Augusta
“We all wish we had a two-, three-month window of when it’s hot, and expect big companies to fall somewhere in that window. We take care of it in those windows,” Woods said. “Scotty is in that window right now.”
Charl Schwartzel, who won the Masters in 2011, was trying to keep up with Smith until he three-posted from about 8 feet to the bogey on the 16th and dropped another shot on the 17th. He slipped to 73. He was at 2-under. 214 with Shane Lowry (73).
Justin Thomas (72) and Corey Connors (73) were the only other players to be tied.