Masters Tournament: duel at the top

AUGUSTA | Three priority shots. It’s Scottie Scheffler’s lead over Cameron Smith heading into the final round of the Masters on Sunday. A lead that can fly like a flower with the winds over National Augustus.

Especially when the best golfer on the planet takes on the winner of the PGA TOUR Players Championship.

The battle promises to be fierce, because the two belligerents are enthroned at the top of the table in the column of birdies. Scheffler amassed 17 in his 54 holes. Smith has one less.

They are also tied in putts leading the field.

But over an inconvenient day on Saturday, the Australian signed the best card to approach the American who seemed to be spinning alone in the direction of the green jacket.

Defying the bitter cold and pesky winds, Smith posted a 68 (-4), the only one under 70, and one of nine under par.

For his part, Scheffler lined up a third round under par with a score of 71 (-1). It allows him to hold the reins of this 86and edition of the Masters with a cumulative record of -9.

A first

“It should be a good battle in the final round, wished the point guard, 25 years old, who has never found himself in such a position in Augusta.

“Cam is an incredible player, chained the one who won three of the five tournaments in which he participated. He has a fantastic short game and he just won a big tournament at The Players. Each of us is fit. It will be a very big challenge to face it. »

Like Smith, Scheffler is chasing a first Grand Slam conquest. He had wanted to be in this position for a long time. Since 2020, he has finished in the top 10 of a major championship in four of his six appearances.

Although ready, he never slept on a three-stroke lead after 54 holes at Augusta. His composure and composure will certainly help him, even in the most delicate moments on the back nine on Sunday.

The saying goes that the Masters is just getting started on this return to the final round. “It’s a unique challenge that I prepared for. I worked hard to find myself in this position. It’s much more pleasant to do this press conference after the third round than to be ignored and head to the practice field, “recounted with humor the Texan.

Calm evening

Precisely, after his conference in the middle of the evening, he headed to the practice field to hit balls there under the spotlights. A routine that he has always performed according to his words. Then he went home to join his wife, have a nice quiet supper and watch episodes of the TV series Office.

As reported earlier in this tournament coverage, Scheffler represents simplicity. He will not change by leading the tournament.

“I want to have a good time and this third round was nice. It must be tomorrow too [dimanche]. »

Smith has no illusions, he will have to work hard to steal this jacket.

“Definitely, I should achieve the best score. I will try to take advantage of the pennant positions by collecting birdies, explained the Australian, who says he is wary of going and wanting to remain patient. I have to stay aggressive in my approaches and keep executing quality shots. »

However, to destabilize his opponent, he is out of the question for him to indulge in a makeover session by shaving off this “flamboyant Longueuil haircut” and his mustache.

“That, definitely not,” he replied, chuckling, to a question on the subject.

Behind, Sungjae Im is at -4, while Shane Lowry and Charl Schwartzel follow at -2. Canadian Corey Conners and American Justin Thomas are -1 in sixth place.

Difficult changes

Among the two important changes to the course this year, it should be noted that after three rounds, only eight birdies have been registered at 11and pennant, this par 4 of 520 yards. This is the most difficult hole with an average score of 4.48 strokes.

As for the 15anda 550-yard par-5, adding 20 yards forces golfers to use longer clubs on the flag attack. On a firmer surface of green, no eagle has yet been made. In total last year, he registered six. Even the birdies are much less numerous there this year with 54 so far. In the 2021 edition, there were 111.

The leaders will start at 2:40 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The mercury will reach 22 degrees.

Leave a Comment