AUGUSTA, GA – Tiger Woods might be the biggest story of the Masters 86.
But everyone is chasing the hottest player on the planet, world number one Scottie Scheffler, who is up by five shots heading into the third round on Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club.
The Scheffler feature matches the largest 36-hole advance in Masters history. Five other players led many hits after two rounds, including Harry Cooper in 1936, Hermann Keizer in 1946, Jack Nicklaus in 1975, Raymond Floyd in 1976 and Jordan Spieth in 2015. All but Cooper ended up winning with a jacket green.
Full list of tee times for Round Three
Here’s what to watch on Saturday at the Augusta National:
Can anyone catch a Scheffler?
Schaeffler, 25, has been on a high for the past two months. After failing to win the first two seasons of his tour, Schaeffler has won three times in his past five matches – the WM Phoenix Open in February and the Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March.
Since the official golf world rankings began in 1986, no player has won a PGA Tour or DP World Tour event, climbed to number one in the world and achieved their first major tournament victory that same year. There have been 25 different players to reach #1 in the world, and Scheffler has a chance of becoming the first player to achieve all three of those achievements in the same year, according to ESPN stats and info.
But Schaeffler never topped a major championship. His previous best was a tie for second after 54 holes at the 2020 PGA Championship; He finished tied for fourth place. He is the third world record to hold or share the 36-hole lead in the Masters. Of the previous two, one won (Dustin Johnson in 2020) and one lost (Greg Norman in 1996).
Can Scheffler take the lead?
“If something happens, [having the lead] “It gives me more confidence,” Scheffler said. And once I saw that I took the lead at some point [Friday]And my first thought was to keep trying to build it just because I feel like I’m playing well. That would be the goal [the third round]Just to put myself in good poses, I do the shots. As long as I stick to everything, everything should be fine. The rest really isn’t up to me.”
Tiger Woods is talking about his second round and excited to have the opportunity to go this weekend.
On his first start in an official event over 17 months ago, Woods, who has won here five times, was behind Schaeffler by nine shots. But it’s only 4 shots from runners up.
Woods, 46, had to work especially hard to stay in the mix after bouncing four of Friday’s first five holes. He rebounded with four birds on his last 11 holes and missed two more good chances.
All in all, it was a daring performance for Woods, who was seriously injured in a car accident outside Los Angeles on February 23, 2021.
“I felt good about the way I fought back [Friday]Woods said. I could have easily kicked myself out of the tournament today, but I kept myself in it. Tomorrow will be an important day, as it will be wonderful and difficult as they expect. It’s going to be fast, and I need to go out there and put myself out there. If you’re five or six years from that ninth day on the way to Sunday, you have a chance, so I just need to get there.”
Woods said he was pleased that his surgically repaired right leg was installed through the first 36 holes.
“It worked really well,” he said. “I was hoping I didn’t have any setbacks along the way as I couldn’t go, but I didn’t have any. Everything was good, it was tough. My team has done a hell of a job getting ready after I go ahead and rest. [my body] There, they go ahead and fix it at night.”
Justin Thomas is not angry now
Justin Thomas was with Woods when he traveled to Augusta National a week ago to test his right leg while playing 18 holes with his son Charlie. He played two nine-hole practice rounds with Woods earlier this week.
On Thursday, Thomas didn’t seem to have much knowledge of the course from the 15-time main champ. But after the opening round 76, Thomas got hot and rebounded with a 5-under 67 score. It was attached to the 10th at 1-under through 36 holes.
Thomas managed the lowest score in the second round and kept his streak alive of 18 consecutive cuts, the longest of any player in the round. His improvement with 9 shots was also the best among the players on the field.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” Thomas said of Thursday’s opening round. “This has been by far and away the most upsetting I’ve ever had after touring in a really, really long time. I don’t know. It was just one of those weird days [Thursday] Where I can not focus. I couldn’t get into the tour. I couldn’t get into this moment, which is sad and a problem in the first round of the Masters Tournament.”
Thomas said he did the breathing by playing with his dog.
“I played fetch with my dog for 45 minutes, and [his fiancee] “Jill was there with me,” said Thomas. “I was kind of angry, pee, and regretted for 30 minutes and had some dinner and went to bed. It’s good.”
The place brings out the best in them
And Charles Schwarzl, the 2011 champion from South Africa, finished second with three less. He ranked 172 in the world and has missed the cut seven times in the nine rounds starting this season.
“The poor results didn’t really define how I felt coming here,” Schwarzl said. “I actually had two weeks off. As the two weeks went by, my confidence grew to believe that I could win this tournament because I was starting to do it so well. [I] Just take a look at the old footage, and it’s still there.”
Schwarzel said he watched the highlights of his Masters win and began to think he could do it again. When asked what surprised him most about winning the Augusta National 11 years ago, he had a simple answer.
“He wears the green jacket at the end,” Schwarzl said.
Hideki Matsuyama, the defending champion, who has back and neck injuries, tied for second at a 3-under. Dustin Johnson, the 2019 champion, finished sixth with a 2-under. Danny Willett, who won the green jacket in 2016, tied for 10th for #1.
Willett has missed out on the Masters in four of his past five starts. He hasn’t had a top 20 on the tour since he finished 18th at the RBC Classic in March 2021.
“We’re in a good place,” Willett said. “me [haven’t] I’ve been in this position for a while, and it’s nice to be there.”
Can Harold Varner III Break the Beginner’s Drought?
Harold Varner was the third of the last six players to reach the Masters Arena, being ranked among the world’s 50 best players as of March 28. He makes the most of his opportunity.
Varner tied for sixth in the 2-under after posting a 1-under 71 in each of the first two rounds.
Varner won the Saudi International Championship in early February by dropping a 92-foot eagle on the 72nd hole. He tied for sixth place at The Players in mid-March.
“I think winning only generates a winner,” he said. “I never doubted I could win, but it never happened. I’ve been there, shooting some big numbers when it really mattered, and I think maturity. But the biggest thing is just managing my journey.”
Varner said some of the best advice he received came from Woods.
“I never forget, Tiger told me the coolest thing,” Varner said. I asked him: What is required to win? “You stop worrying about winning, you will keep it,” he said. It helped my demeanor do what I’m good at, play golf, and hit the ball it demands. I think you have to do that a lot here.”
Varner is enjoying his debut with his parents and young son Liam.
It’s unbelievable,” Varner said. “I just saw my dad for the first time just now. He doesn’t like watching. He gets so nervous, but I’ve seen my mom. I can’t wait to see my baby. Like I said earlier, he’s probably going to vomit on me. Yeah, he’s cool.”