09 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
The Masters: Aussies braced for marathon finish
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Aussies Cameron Smith, Jason Day and Adam Scott are facing a marathon final day at The Masters after heavy rain forced an early suspension of play for the second day running at Augusta National Golf Club. After storms forced players from the course short of completion of the second round on Friday, it was the accumulation of water on greens that ultimately brought play to an end prematurely on Saturday. Queensland pair Cameron Smith (T23, one-under) and Adam Scott (T28, even par) made it further than most in their third rounds having completed 13 holes when play was suspended. Jason Day, who will return on Sunday in a tie for eighth at four-under par, was one-over through seven holes of his third round. When he resumes, Day will have a seven-foot putt to save his par at the par-5 eighth. American Brooks Koepka (13-under through six) and Spain’s Jon Rahm (nine-under through six) have separated themselves from the rest of the field, US Amateur champion Sam Bennett the next best at six-under followed by Patrick Cantlay (through 13), US Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick (through 11), Viktor Hovland (through seven) and Collin Morikawa (through seven) all at five-under par. Day is one of six players in a share of eighth at four-under with Kiwi Ryan Fox three-under through 11 and tied with world No.1 Scottie Scheffler and Gary Woodland at three-under. The 35-year-old was the only Aussie to have completed his second round and had an early highlight as the cold and wet conditions took hold. After finding the fairway bunker on the par-5 second Day laid up to 110 yards, his wedge to 10 feet setting up a birdie that would get him to six-under for the tournament. A tee shot that travelled long and left of the green led to a bogey at the par-3 fourth, a missed par putt from five feet leading to a second in succession at the difficult par-4 fifth. Smith and Scott were both out early to complete their second rounds, Smith making birdies at 14 and 15 as he played the back nine in even par in a round of 72. Following seven straight pars to start his third round, birdie at the par-5 eighth elevated Smith to two-under for the tournament. The Open champion dropped a shot on 11 and then made double-bogey after finding Rae’s Creek at the par-3 12th. With the rain at its heaviest, Smith made birdie from five feet at the par-5 13th before the horn was sounded and players were sent home for the day. Like Smith, Scott’s last shot on Saturday was a birdie putt on 13 having also made birdie on 12 thanks to a brilliant tee shot to eight feet. Generally satisfied with how he finished his second round – Scott played his final seven holes in two-over – the 2013 champion gave an insight into just how difficult conditions had made the course overnight. “I hit a 3-iron into 18, and I only had 186 to the front, and it didn’t even pitch to the front,” Scott revealed. “So it’s playing long. Normally that club flies 240. “Normal conditions, I might have hit 5 or 6. Yeah, it’s playing long.” Min Woo Lee (75) and amateur Harrison Crowe (77) returned on Saturday morning to complete their second rounds but both ultimately missed the cut.
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