2022 leaderboard breakdown: Scotty Scheffler’s lead wanes as Cameron Smith presses

Scotty Scheffler put some punches back onto the court in the final nine holes of the third round of the 2022 Masters, creating plenty of intrigue ahead of Sunday’s final round after it looked like the world number one seed was about to escape with its first game. green jacket. There will be a lot of history at stake when Schaeffler and the field advance on Sunday to face the Augusta National with $2.7 million hanging in the balance.

Scheffler attempts to become the fourth man to win his first Masters tournament, joining Horton Smith, Jane Sarrazin and Fozzie Zoeller. He’s already won three times in 2022 and reached the top of the rankings in the process, so it’s no surprise to see him playing well here at the Augusta National this week. He is also trying to be the fifth golfer to enter the pros as the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world and leave wearing a green jacket, after Ian Wasnam, Fred Coples, Tiger Woods (twice) and Dustin Johnson.

What was a surprise was the four bogeys through the final seven holes by Scheffler on Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, the lead that had been hovering around five strikes for most of the day quickly diminished along with Cameron Smith firing the best round of the day and climbing to 6 under. The Bugs left 12th, 14th, 15th and 18th Scheffler in the under 9, by one stroke better than he started in the championship but closer to the field than he had hoped after a great start to the Tour.

Here’s what the top of the leaderboard looks like heading into Sunday’s final round of the Masters 86.

2022 Leaderboard Masters, Round Three

1. Scotty Scheffler (-9): A power of 33 in the first nine helped prevent final damage from some risk and fouls in the second nine as he neared his worst run of the week but still protected a multi-hit lead. Scheffler saved himself from disaster on the 18th day when he snatched his ball out of the woods to land a stunning shot from a pile of pine needles. He was amazed, trimming his advantage to three strokes, but it could have been a lot worse.

2. Cam Smith (-6): Today’s round came from one of the hottest golfers in the world as Smith caught fire with six birds on his way to 68. Smith’s 16 birders across three rounds are twice the field average and show one of the top sports now bringing his A game in the same Difficult scoring conditions that knocked out most of their playing.

3. Sungjae Im (-4): After a tough start that included double bogeys on #1 and back-to-back bogeys on #5 and 6, Im rolled five birds and no bogey in the last 11 holes to rise again on the leaderboard after taking a tumble in the early afternoon. Like Scheffler, the 18-hole leader was im under 1 under today but kept hunting.

T4. Shane Lowry, Charles Schwarzl (-2): Both major champions played near the field average on Saturday after having been among the lowest scores on the field on Friday. Schwartzel made an eagle on the ninth but collapsed on the second nine with four ghosts. They both finished the day one stroke higher than they started.

T6. Justin Thomas, Cory Conners (-1): JT is one of seven players in the top 10 who already have a major championship under their belt, so he is a theoretical threat to Schaeffler’s leadership. Thomas continued his bounce off an outrageous 76 on Thursday with a shot of 72 that beat the field average by two strokes. Unfortunately, although Moving Day featured an elite ball hit in the Greens, it was also his worst performance of the tournament to date, and two more situations will mean JT has a much better chance of capturing his second Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, the Conners’ iron play has been really strong all week, as has his racketeer, and his 72 is in line with that consistency as he hovered around par all week while most of the field scored at least one round with big numbers. The 30-year-old Canadian is building an impressive CV for Augusta with a chance of a third straight finish in the 10th place.

T8. Danny Willett (English): The 2016 Masters Champion was a parallel machine this week. His 38 bars are perfectly balanced with exactly eight birds and eight ghosts. Willett 3-under 69 on Thursday helped cement his position ahead of Sunday, and if he achieves that result in the fourth round, he will likely score his best result since his 2016 win.

T9. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Colin Morikawa, Jason Kokrac, Tommy Fleetwood (+1): Of this group, Morikawa and DJ were the ones who fell back into the +1 predicament while the rest fell into the third round. Fleetwood’s 70 was the second best round of the day. Rory’s move into the top 10 would be an even bigger story if the distance between Schaeffler’s lead and 10th on the leaderboard wasn’t an eight stroke. There is certainly a chance of a strong finish on Sunday, a 7th Top 10 in the last nine champions, and perhaps even a match for his best result ever at the Augusta National (4th place solo in 2015). But fourth place is only three strokes away, and completion of the Grand Slam is elusive.

T14. Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatores, Cameron Champ (+2): After the day started getting too much into the mix to chase Scheffler, the reigning Masters champ saw the wheels drop in a 5-over 77 game that featured five ghost and a double. Champ was the only one from this group to finish below par on Saturday, putting in a solid performance from both the tee and bat on the greens.

T41. Tiger Woods, John Ram, Daniel Berger, Russell Henley (+7): Tiger’s 78 was his worst at the Augusta National whether amateur or pro, and the Ram 77 cemented what had already been a week of results well below pre-tournament expectations. Both Woods and Ram are candidates to throw a crazy low on the board Sunday morning in perfect scoring conditions, but both will have some regrets later on about how things went on Saturday.