Masters Third Round News & Notes

7:42 PM, Apr 13, 2013   |    comments
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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 jacket.

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 Angel Cabrera.

"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 15th place.

"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 Augusta National.

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 few over."

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 the cut.

* 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 three rounds.

* 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