Scheffler leads early in Masters third round, Woods struggles

April 14, 2024 7:09 am

[Source: Reuters]

Overnight Masters co-leaders Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau got their third rounds underway while Tiger Woods’ hopes of making an early charge faltered at sunny and breezy Augusta National.

Scheffler enjoyed a perfect start as he birdied the opening hole to move one stroke ahead as twice major winner Collin Morikawa began with a trio of birdies to move within one shot of the lead.

A day after only eight players broke par in a second round played amid wind gusts that topped 40 mph and made a difficult course even more challenging, the early starters were greeted with dazzling sunshine and a much lighter breeze.

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Woods, fresh off his Masters record-setting 24th made cut, began his third round seven shots behind the overnight leaders and hoping his injury-ravaged body would hold up and allow him to make an early move.

But Woods, who insisted this week he can still equal Jack Nicklaus’s record of six Masters titles, suddenly showed signs of discomfort and was five over through eight holes after mixing a birdie with two bogeys and two double-bogeys.

Following a three-putt bogey at the par-three fourth, Woods drained a fist pump-inducing birdie putt from 19 feet at the par-four-fifth that produced the day’s biggest roar before he suddenly started to unravel.

Woods bogeyed the par-three sixth after his tee shot landed behind the green, made a double-bogey at the seventh where he chipped into a bunker before another double at the eighth.

Among the other early starters was world number two Rory McIlroy, who was seeking a hot start to keep alive his slim hopes of completing the career Grand Slam of golf’s four major titles.

McIlroy was 10 shots off the lead when he began his third round and was one under through 16 holes.

The day’s low score belonged to Chris Kirk, making his fifth Masters start, who carded a four-under 68 to reach one over for the tournament.

DeChambeau, who is at six under and one of the eight LIV Golf players who made the cut, is in the final pairing with Homa who is playing in his fifth Masters.

One group ahead will be world number one and pre-tournament favourite Scheffler, who has said he would depart Augusta National at a moment’s notice should his pregnant wife, who is not due until the end of the month, go into labour.