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What’s at stake for top five at the Masters?

7 Min Read


Scottie Scheffler heads into the final round of the 88th Masters Tournament as the solo leader in pursuit of a second green jacket. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler heads into the final round of the 88th Masters Tournament as the solo leader in pursuit of a second green jacket. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

    Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – The winds that buffeted Augusta National for the first two rounds of the Masters abated, but low scores were still hard to find on Saturday. That leaves a tight leaderboard for the final round, when the tournament traditionally breaks out the hole locations that encourage birdies and eagles.

    It is a recipe for a classic Masters finish where the action is condensed into the final nine holes of the week and memorable Masters moments are created. With the top eight names on the leaderboard separated by just five shots, there are still plenty of potential winners of this year’s Masters.

    Scottie Scheffler, seeking his second Masters win in the past three years, holds a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa. Max Homa is two back, followed by Ludvig Åberg and Bryson DeChambeau, who are three and four shots back, respectively.

    Here’s a look at the five players with the most at stake entering Sunday’s final round:

    1. Scottie Scheffler (first, 7-under)

    On the morning of his Masters win two years ago, Scheffler was overwhelmed by the immensity of the moment. He was brought to tears, and his wife Meredith gave him an inspirational speech that helped him face that final round.

    “Meredith and I were just a little bit emotional about what was going on at the time because our lives were changing at a very rapid pace,” Scheffler said Saturday. “Now I think we have settled more into where our lives are at. … Things are a lot different now, and I feel like we've both matured.”

    These positions have become more common for Scheffler. He’s been the PGA TOUR Player of the Year in each of the past two seasons and has eight TOUR titles, including the past two PLAYERS Championships. A chance to win another Masters isn’t even the most exciting thing in his life right now. Meredith is at home in Dallas, pregnant with their first child.

    Still, a victory Sunday would be the continuation of an incredible stretch of golf. He has a win and two runners-up in his past three starts. He went back-to-back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and THE PLAYERS Championship, two tournaments he’s won previously, before finishing second at the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

    Scheffler could join Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win multiple Masters and PLAYERS titles. He’s also looking to join Woods, Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Horton Smith as the only players to win multiple Masters before turning 28.

    It's almost unfortunate that Scheffler’s run will soon be interrupted. But bigger things await him and his wife.

    2. Collin Morikawa (second, 6-under)

    Morikawa won the first major he played after turning pro, the 2020 PGA Championship, and added another one at the next year’s Open Championship. He was just 24 years old and already owned five PGA TOUR titles, including those two majors.

    Something changed after he returned from a tournament in Dubai in 2022, however. He said he’s been “searching” ever since, trying to find that old form. Once the second-ranked player in the world, he is now No. 20.

    He won the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP last fall to end a two-year winless drought, a victory that was preceded by his move to swing coach Mark Blackburn. Morikawa has been inconsistent this year, a T5 at the season-opening The Sentry his only top-10 of the season. He finished 75th last week at the Valero Texas Open, but said he found an important swing thought during a lengthy range session on Monday. Then he switched putters after the first round, returning to a replica of a familiar flatstick.

    “Sometimes you're searching, and I had to search,” Morikawa said. “You have to find something. You know, where my game was last week, if I took it out here, first few days, I probably wouldn't be here. I probably wouldn't be playing today. So you have to find something.

    A Masters win would give Morikawa three legs of the career Grand Slam at age 27. And re-establish him as a major force.

    3. Max Homa (third, 5-under)

    Homa is one of the most popular players in the game. He’s also one of its best, owner of six PGA TOUR titles and ranked 11th in the world. His record in major championships (just one top-10) does not live up to his other accomplishments, however. That could change Sunday. This is his best opportunity to win a major championship, and it would be a life-changer.

    Homa’s green jacket tour would be pretty epic, and it would definitely make for some strong social-media content. One of the most open players in the game, he would surely give his fans an unvarnished look behind the scenes of life as a Masters champion. A win this week also would come after playing the first two rounds alongside his hero, Tiger Woods. The only other time they were paired, Homa missed the cut at the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

    “I’m going to remind myself I’m a dog and I’m ready for this moment,” Homa said Saturday evening. He has the opportunity to prove it once again.

    4. Ludvig Åberg (fourth, 4-under)

    No better major to win than your first one. Aberg has the opportunity to do that Sunday. He will start the final round just three off the lead, and he seems ready for the moment.

    “I think about it all the time,” he said. “I'm okay thinking about it. Obviously I'm a competitor and I want to win tournaments. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and to be here playing golf.

    “I don't think you should shy away from it. I don't think you should try to push it away. I try to embrace it, and I try to be okay with all that comes with it.”

    Åberg and Collin Morikawa were the only players to shoot under par in both the second and third rounds. Åberg, who turned pro less than a year ago, has already starred in a Ryder Cup, in addition to his wins on the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, and is a top-10 player in the world. To win a major so soon would put his career on an incredible trajectory. “The Best Player to Never Win a Major” is one of the game’s most detested labels, but Åberg wouldn’t have to ever worry about it if he can win Sunday.

    Winning the Masters would make him just the fifth player to win the Masters before turning 25, joining Nicklaus, Woods, Ballesteros and Jordan Spieth.

    5. Bryson DeChambeau (fifth, 3-under)

    DeChambeau is the game’s ultimate scientist. A Masters win would show that his methods can triumph at the course that requires the most artistry in the game.

    DeChambeau famously declared Augusta National a “par 67” back when he was at his beefiest, reasoning that all the par 5s were actually par 4s for him (with the short par-4 third actually a par 3 for him). In that light, it makes his Masters showings even more worrisome. His best finish at the Masters came when he finished T21 as an amateur. He’s missed the cut in his previous two trips to Augusta National, as well.

    DeChambeau had a roller-coaster final 11 holes Saturday. He made just two pars, playing that stretch in 2-over par with four birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey (at the par-5 15th). His birdie at the final hole Saturday kept Scheffler within reach, however, putting DeChambeau four back. DeChambeau was the first-round leader after shooting 65 on Thursday, but he has followed with rounds of 73 and 75.

    A win also would extend DeChambeau’s expected stay in major championships. Due to his win in the 2020 U.S. Open, he is exempt in the Masters, PGA Championship and The Open through 2025, and the U.S. Open through 2030. A victory would mean a lifetime exemption into the Masters and five more years into The Open and PGA Championship.

    DeChambeau deserves credit for yet another transformation of his body. He still is one of the strongest players in the game but has slimmed down dramatically from five years ago. He’s proven he’ll do whatever it takes to be elite, and a win Sunday would be further confirmation of his continued quest for improvement.

    Sean Martin is a senior editor for the PGA TOUR. He is a 2004 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Attending a small school gave him a heart for the underdog, which is why he enjoys telling stories of golf's lesser-known players. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.

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