There were two days that we’ve been anticipating for a while now. The first was Thursday, when the first round of the Masters got underway. And the second is today, where we’ll find out who will be wearing the green jacket in Butler Cabin when play has concluded on the course later this afternoon. And if what we saw in the third round on Saturday was any indication as to what kind of day it will be, we’re set up for an amazing finish at golf’s biggest tournament.
Here’s a look at what went down yesterday, and what we can look forward to today:
- Somehow, someway, Lee Westwood is still in the lead entering the final round, despite everything that went on elsewhere on the course yesterday. And that elsewhere is mainly focused around the play of Phil Mickelson, who absolutely went nuts yesterday. Phil went eagle, eagle, birdie on 13, 14, and 15 yesterday, and was one foot away from three straight eagles. That immediately put him in the lead for the time-being, but then he bogeyed 17, which gave Westwood the one stroke lead that he enters today with. With these two in the final pairing, who knows what we could see out there today, especially if conditions are right. We’ll see where Augusta places the hole locations, as I would expect them to be pretty difficult.
- Tiger Woods enters the day four shots back, along with K.J. Choi. Tiger had some interesting moments yesterday, with the CBS mics capturing a few profanities from him when he hit a few bad shots, but he had a great back nine with 4 birdies, which helped him stay close to the lead. Choi seems to be feeding off of Tiger’s presence this week, as this will be the fourth day that he has been paired with Tiger (which for the record, no one has ever been paired with Tiger for all four rounds of a tournament). If the course gives players potential to go low today, either one of these guys could make a Phil-like surge and win this thing.
- Fred Couples is also back in the mix after falling out of it with a 75 in the second round of the tournament. Couples shot a 68 in the third round and sits at 7-under, only five shots off the lead. The big question surrounding Couples after day two was the condition of his back, but it looks like he’s got things back on track. We’ll probably be able to tell early on how the back is holding up, but if he can get off to a good start, he could also make a run up the leaderboard with Tiger and Choi.
- Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan were two guys going in different directions yesterday, as Poulter, who had a share of the lead after round two, struggled to a two-over 74, to sit at 6-under. Meanwhile, Mahan has found himself in contention after firing a 68, including 7 birdies on the round. It’ll be interesting to see how Mahan plays since he’s paired with Couples today, and perhaps those two could bring out the best in each other. Poulter will be paired with Ricky Barnes, who is also at 6-under for the championship.
- Anthony Kim played well once again yesterday, and is at 5-under entering the final round. Kim probably needs to hope for tough conditions today, because that might be the only way that he has a shot at winning this thing. He’ll need those guys at the top to drop several shots, and he’ll need to make up shots in a hurry. He’ll be paired with Y.E. Yang, who is likely hoping for the same thing.
- Tom Watson was the big story on day one, and though he’s fell down the leaderboard quite a bit since that day, it’s still amazing to see sitting tied for 14th right now, and at 2-under for the tournament. I really hope that he can shoot under par today, and go out on a positive note. And just a reminder, CBS will be airing a special on the 1977 Masters (which Watson won) at 1 PM ET today, right before the final round coverage gets underway at 2 PM ET. Set your TiVo’s!
Golf fans, get ready for a wild day of golf. With three of the top four players in the world in the final two pairings, it’s going to be very interesting to see who makes the run today. Because trust me, someone is going to give us a final round to remember. Will it be Westwood? Will it be Mickelson? Will it be Woods? Or will it be Choi?
We shall see.