AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Conditions were tricky for early starters on a lightning-fast, sun-baked Augusta National layout where a tightly bunched leaderboard was likely to create a gripping finish to the Masters on Sunday.
Only seven players were under par for the final round in the early going, Australian Steve Bowditch the best of them after eagling the par-five second and recording a birdie at the par-four third to get to one over for the tournament.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Swede Jonas Blixt has taken to major championships like a duck to water and helped by superb putting on lightning-fast greens, he stayed in contention for the 78th Masters with an ice-cool display on Saturday.
The 29-year-old needed only 27 putts on a day when many of the game’s best players were humbled on the greens, carding a one-under-par 71 to finish the third round just one stroke off the lead.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Matt Kuchar knows Augusta National as well as anyone at this week’s Masters and he was delighted to surge into contention on Saturday after coping with slick greens he described as “on the frightening side”.
Georgia resident and world number seven Kuchar, who has recorded top-10 finishes in his last two Masters starts, fired a four-under-par 68 in sun-baked conditions to end the third round of the year’s opening major one stroke off the lead.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Just six days from making his debut on the Champions Tour for players over 50, charismatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is best known for his love of cigars and Rioja wine, and his quirky warm-up routine.
Yet the pony-tailed 50-year-old from Malaga has produced some of the best golf of his career in recent months and on Saturday at the Masters he fired the lowest score of the tournament to surge into contention.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Adam Scott, who has honed the art of patience at the majors in recent years, kept his Masters title defense on track with a superb back nine in difficult conditions on Friday.
Just as he did last year on the way to his maiden victory in a major, the Australian world number two shrugged off a shaky start to the second round, three birdies after the turn helping him card a level-par 72 at a sun-baked Augusta National.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Jose Maria Olazabal’s victory at the 1999 Masters is often referenced as the last time Augusta National played fast and firm throughout the tournament but the Spaniard believes this year’s edition could match it.
Despite the heavy rain and lightning on Monday that forced practice to be suspended after just two hours, the heavily contoured layout has since quickened in pace after four successive days of bright sunshine and swirling winds.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Thomas Bjorn has been playing some of the best golf of his life over the past eight months and he made that count on Friday as he charged up the leaderboard with a scintillating finish at the Masters.
The 43-year-old Dane birdied four of the last five holes to shoot a four-under-par 68 in the second round, despite tricky scoring conditions at Augusta National on a firming layout in swirling winds.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Twelve months after succumbing to the pressure of trying to retain his Masters title, Bubba Watson delivered a near-flawless display to soar up the leaderboard in Thursday’s opening round at Augusta National.
The power-hitting American left-hander, who is renowned for his audacious brand of ‘Bubba’ golf, was the only player in the field of 97 to go bogey-free as he fired a three-under-par 69 on a firm, fast-running layout.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Three years after suffering a final-round meltdown at the Masters, Rory McIlroy got back into contention for the year’s opening major with an impressive display of patience and grinding golf on Thursday.
On a sun-baked Augusta National layout where danger lurked at every corner because of swirling winds and quickening greens, the Northern Irishman eked out a one-under-par 71 to sit three strokes off the first-round lead.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Just like the Rioja wine he loves to drink after a round of golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez seems to get better with age and, apart from two shots, the Spaniard was in sparkling form at the Masters on Thursday.
The 50-year-old from Malaga, who bettered his own record as the European Tour’s oldest winner at the Hong Kong Open in December, birdied four of the first nine holes on the way to a one-under-par 71 at Augusta National in the opening round.