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‘Moving Day’ at the Masters was subtle

4 Min Read


Collin Morikawa plays his second shot on the 14th hole during the third round of the Masters Tournament. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Collin Morikawa plays his second shot on the 14th hole during the third round of the Masters Tournament. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler leads; holding one’s position was movement enough

    Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – You didn’t need high shutter speeds, instant replay, or radar to capture the movement in “Moving Day” in the third round of the Masters Tournament.

    And yet it was there, even if it was subtle – less like NASCAR than water aerobics or tai chi, each movement in one direction canceled out by movement in the other, until by dusk you had a leaderboard that looked very similar to the one we saw at dawn.

    “Proud of how I played today,” said solo leader Scottie Scheffler (71, 7-under), who will be vying for his second Masters in the last three years and his third win in his last four PGA TOUR starts. “It was a good fight out there. The golf course was extremely challenging. The greens were very firm, very fast, and it was extremely difficult again today.”

    Birdies were nullified by bogeys, double bogeys erased by eagles.

    A good fight. There was no more popular analogy on this day.

    “The conditions make the day, right?” said Lucas Glover, who shot 72 and is seven back. “Styles make fights, as they say. The style here is firm and fast, and when it's like that, it's a challenge. It's hard to get your ball close. It's hard to chip it close. It's hard to putt it close sometimes.”

    Collin Morikawa was one of the few players who didn’t stagger off the course looking like a dazed prizefighter. He shot 3-under 69 – one of just two sub-70 rounds – to move from a tie for fifth, three behind, to solo second at 6-under par, one back.

    “Didn't really make the putts on the back nine, or else I would be even with (Scheffler) or 1-up,” he said of his 33-36 effort. “It happens. It's golf. But thankfully I've got one more day.”

    With a win Sunday, Morikawa, 27, would be three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam.

    As movement goes, Saturday was by turns static and explosive.

    Take Max Homa, who started the day with a share of the lead but began his round with 11 straight pars, did not make a birdie, and signed for a 1-over 73. He’s now two back, in solo third.

    “I would say frustrating at times, but also really, really pleased with it,” Homa said. “I don't know what more I could have done. Could have seen some putts go in, but I don't hate how I putted. Started the ball on the line a lot. The greens got really fast.”

    The other two 36-hole co-leaders chased double bogeys with heroics.

    Scheffler doubled the 10th hole and bogeyed the 11th to fall back, but eagled the par-5 13th, pumping his fist in a rare show of emotion. He finished bogey, birdie on 17 and 18, respectively.

    Bryson DeChambeau, who at daybreak shared the lead with Scheffler and Homa at 6-under, shot 75 after a watery double bogey on 15 and a birdie hole-out on 18. He’s in solo fifth at 3-under.

    There were just two sub-70 rounds, one by Morikawa and the other by Chris Kirk, whose 68 catapulted him from 5 over and definitely out of contention to 1 over and, well, erm, probably still out of contention. (He beat the field average by more than six strokes.)

    The first two rounds featured gusts that blew sand out of the bunkers and Gary Woodland’s ball across the sixth green. Saturday was calmer, but not necessarily easier.

    Masters rookie Nicolai Højgaard was 3 under for his first 10 holes and atop the board at 7 under, but he gave up all of that ground and then some with five straight back-nine bogeys. He shot 74 and was five off the lead after a day that for many amounted to basically running in place.

    Homa could relate but was happy he was still in it after fighting some early nervousness.

    “If you told me I made no birdies today,” he said, “I would have thought I imploded.”

    Instead, that dubious distinction was held down by Tiger Woods (82), Kurt Kitayama (82), Adam Hadwin (82), Vijay Singh (82), Eric Cole (81), the amateur Neal Shipley (80), and many more.

    “Whacked it around a few times today,” said Shipley, the only amateur to make the cut.

    For them, Moving Day was about going south, but for those still in this Masters, who fought hard just to hold their place, the movement was more subtle. Scheffler, Morikawa, Homa and Masters rookie Ludvig Åberg (70, 4 under, three back) – four guys who averaged roughly 71 strokes in Round 3 – moved to the precipice of history. That was movement enough.

    Cameron Morfit is a Staff Writer for the PGA TOUR. He has covered rodeo, arm-wrestling, and snowmobile hill climb in addition to a lot of golf. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter.

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