Scheffler one clear of Morikawa after third round – The Masters

Round 3

Scottie Scheffler moved a step closer to a second Masters title in three years, grabbing a one-shot lead after a thrilling third round at Augusta National.

The world No 1 went into the weekend part of a three-way tie for the lead and briefly jumped two ahead with two birdies in his first three holes, only to fall two behind after dropping three shots in two holes at the start of his back nine.

Scheffler recovered to eagle the 13th and pull level with Collin Morikawa before grabbing the solo lead with a birdie on the next par-five, and he then cancelled out a bogey at the 17th to birdie the last and head into the final day on seven under.

The 2022 Masters champion holds a slender cushion over Morikawa, looking to complete the third leg of the career Grand Slam, with overnight co-leader Max Homa two back ahead of Masters debutant Ludvig Åberg.

Morikawa is within striking distance as he seeks his third major title.

A closing hole-out from Bryson DeChambeau keeps him within four of the lead going into the final day, while Rory McIlroy will start 10 back following a third-round 71 and Tiger Woods resumes in a share of 52nd after carding a 10-over 82 – his worst in a major as a professional.

Scheffler – going out in the penultimate group – missed with his approach to the opening green but chipped in for a stunning birdie, then took advantage of a favourable break in the trees at the par-four third to drain a 35-footer and move to eight under.

Morikawa made a three-birdie start and found himself within one of the lead when Scheffler failed to get up and down to save par at the fourth, with the two-time major winner then cancelling a bogey at the sixth to take advantage of the eighth and move tied-second with Homa.

Scheffler reached the turn one ahead after squandering opportunities at the eighth and ninth but gave the chasing pack hope with an unexpected double-bogey at the par-four 10th, where playing partner Nicolai Hojgaard made a third straight birdie to jump into a one-shot lead.

Woods carded his worst ever round at a major.

Both players dropped a shot at the 11th, keeping Scheffler two behind, while the logjam at the top temporarily became five players when Åberg followed a first-nine 33 with a birdie at the par-five 13th.

DeChambeau slipped back with successive bogeys, Åberg dropped a shot at the next and Hojgaard went on a five-bogey run, while Homa also slipped back with a blemish at the par-three 12th as Scheffler pulled level with Morikawa by draining a 30-foot eagle putt at the 13th.

Scheffler took advantage of the par-five 15th to temporarily regain the solo lead but slipped back to six under as he missed a nine-footer to save par at the 17th, only to fire his approach to eight feet at the last and make the closing birdie to secure the 54-hole advantage.

“Proud of how I played today,” Scheffler said. “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. So probably looking for more of the same tomorrow.”

Ludvig Åberg could become the first player to win a major on their debut.

Morikawa made pars on each of his closing 11 holes to sign for a three-under 69 and ensure he will join Scheffler in the final group, with halfway co-leader Homa in third after a one-over 73.

DeChambeau’s hole-out birdie at the final hole closed a three-over 75 and pushed him fifth ahead of Hojgaard, Xander Schauffele and Cameron Davis, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood one of four players sharing ninth spot.

McIlroy said he would “give it a go” on the final day, where he has the same 54-hole deficit as when he finished runner-up in 2022, although his hopes of completing the career Grand Slam look to be over for another year.

Defending champion Jon Rahm carded a level-par 72 to stay on five over, while Woods’ faint hopes slipped away as the high of securing a record-breaking 24th consecutive Masters cut was followed by the low of carding the worst round of his major career as a professional.

Woods was level par after five holes of his round but dropped six shots in his next four, with four consecutive bogeys from the 14th seeing him drop back to 11 over for the tournament and leaving just four players below him on the leaderboard.

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