AUGUSTA, Ga. – Scottie Scheffler spent all day warding off the chilly wind on the Masters, slipping on a vest over his layers of clothes after each shot on each gap. One extra spherical and his subsequent wardrobe change is perhaps a inexperienced jacket.
Scheffler seemed oblivious to the cruel situations Saturday, at one level stretching his result in six pictures. He held on throughout a wild and windy journey alongside the again 9 at Augusta National, escaping with bogey from the bushes on the 18th for a 1-under 71 and a three-shot lead over Cameron Smith.
Smith had the low spherical at 68, the one participant to interrupt 70, and gave himself one other shot at profitable the Masters in his first begin since his victory in The Players Championship. He was a runner-up to Dustin Johnson two years in the past.
Sungjae Im (71), additionally a runner-up in 2020, was the one different participant inside 5 pictures.
Tiger Woods wished to discover a approach to get into crimson numbers and wound up together with his worst rating ever on the Masters, a 78 that will likely be remembered for his first four-putt at Augusta National. He additionally had 4 three-putts and was 16 pictures behind.
“You’d think I’d have figured it out somewhere along the line, but it just didn’t happen,” he mentioned.
On such a chilly day – the wind chill was within the higher 40s a lot of the day – maybe this was a warmup for what Scheffler can anticipate on Sunday at Augusta National, usually the best theater of the majors, particularly for these in search of their first main.
The final participant who failed to carry a lead of three pictures or extra going into the ultimate spherical was 21-year-old Rory McIlroy in 2011.
Scheffler seemed as thought he may flip this right into a runaway when he made his fourth birdie of the spherical on the par-5 eighth and expanded his result in six pictures.
But then a shot from the entrance bunker on the par-3 twelfth went over the inexperienced. He bounced again with a birdie solely to return up properly in need of the monstrous mound guarding the again proper pin on the 14th for bogey, and three-putting the par-5 fifteenth for one more bogey.
Even after his finest shot of the spherical, an method to 4 toes for birdie on the seventeenth, he bumped into massive issues on the 18th. He yanked his tee shot into a cover of bushes and twisted branches, leaving him no selection however to take a penalty drop on the pine straw.
Bold as ever, he smashed his method from 240 yards onto the inexperienced and simply over the again, leaving him two putts to maintain his distance.
Scheffler was at 9-under 207.
Sunday would be the first time since a last pairing at a significant featured gamers from the highest 10 on the earth because the 2015 PGA Championship with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.
Scheffler and Smith is perhaps the 2 hottest gamers in golf, too.
Scheffler has gained three of his final 5 tournaments, all towards a few of the strongest fields of the yr, a run that has elevated the 25-year-old from Dallas to No. 1 on the earth.
Smith started the yr by taking down the previous No. 1 participant, Jon Rahm, with a report rating to par at Kapalua. His newest feat was to win the subsequent neatest thing to a significant, The Players Championship, final month.
“It just means I can get it done, I guess, when I’m up against the best guys in the world. It’s a good feeling to have. It’s earned. It’s not given to you,” Smith mentioned. “So I’m going to have to go out there tomorrow and play really good golf again, probably similar to today. Hopefully, everything just falls into place.”
Woods completed as Scheffler was nonetheless comfortably forward, and the five-time Masters champion feels as if he has seen this earlier than. Players hit peak kind on a regular basis, and it’s particularly candy when that run is within the spring with the Masters on the calendar.
Woods gained back-to-back forward of his Masters victory in 2001. Jordan Spieth gained and had a pair of runner-up finishes when he gained his inexperienced jacket in 2015. Fred Couples gained twice and was runner-up twice forward of his 1992 victory at Augusta.
“We all wish we had that two, three-month window when we get hot, and hopefully majors fall somewhere along in that window. We take care of it in those windows,” Woods mentioned. “Scottie seems to be in that window right now.”
Charl Schwartzel, who gained the Masters in 2011, was attempting to maintain stride with Smith till he three-putted from about 8 toes for bogey on the sixteenth and dropped one other shot on the seventeenth, slipping to a 73. He was at 2-under 214 together with Shane Lowry (73).
Justin Thomas (72) and Corey Conners (73) had been the one different gamers beneath par.