Tim Clark is 3 under through 54 holes at the Masters. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tim Clark put himself into position to contend on the back nine on Sunday at the Masters, thanks to a third-round 5-under 67 that is his lowest in 35 career rounds at Augusta National.
Clark, whose lone PGA TOUR victory is the 2010 THE PLAYERS Championship, tore through the front nine Saturday in 5-under 31 before leveling off on the back nine to finish at 3 under for the tournament. He did reach 4 under before suffering a bogey on his final hole.
"It was gettable for me today being firmer, the fairways being firmer anyway, and going off early," Clark said. "The front nine, the greens are somewhat receptive, so I was able to get some birdies early and sort of try and hang on."
Saturday's score was nine shots lower than his second-round score of 4-over 76. Prior to Saturday, Clark had produced just two rounds in the 60s in 11 Masters starts.
One of those 60s came in 2006 when Clark shot a final-round 69 to finish in second place behind winner Phil Mickelson. He has three other finishes in which he's tied for 13th but has also missed the cut six times at Augusta National.
The lengthy course would not seem to suit Clark's game, but he complemented his accuracy with a hot putter in the third round when he needed just 24 putts.
"If you watched me yesterday, I think I missed 10 putts inside 8 feet," he said. "I don't believe it's that much of a putting contest out there. I mean, you've got to hit the ball so good around here, and particularly control your irons. That's all I really did today. I played smart shots. I didn't go at every flag ...
"For me it's really been about the ball striking this week. I've driven it great, hit a lot of fairways and obviously to shoot a round like that you've just got to start to make putts."