It’s moving day at the Masters, and it promises to be one of the more memorable moving days the tournament has ever had. How could it not given this leader board through 36 holes, which features five major champions tied at the top, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson just one back, and names like Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler all within striking distance. There are so many in contention at Augusta National that it’s proven difficult to keep track. On Friday, while Woods was making his second-round charge, Xander Schauffele was quietly shooting the round of the tournament, a seven-under 65 that also has him within one of the lead. Did we mention Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau and Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter are all firmly in the mix as well? Like we said, it’s been chaotic.
Will Saturday make the picture any clearer? Probably not, and that’s a good thing. All we can ask for is a similar crowded leader board heading into Sunday, when all hell will break loose. For now, the one-shot edge on the field belongs to Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Francesco Molinari and Jason Day. The last four names in that group are all looking to notch a second major title, while Koepka can earn a remarkable third major victory in his last four tries and the fourth of his career.
The leaders, plus Woods, Johnson, Schauffele & co. won’t be on the course for some time, and we’ll have all the important updates from the final groups when they get rolling. For now, we’ll keep you updated on any notable action from the morning wave, which features a marquee pairing of Marc Leishman and Rory McIlroy, each at even par and both in need of a low round on Saturday to get back in this thing.
Check out the pin positions for the third round of the 2019 Masters:
12:15 p.m.: After a really nice up-and-down par save for Rory McIlroy at No. 5, he gives one right back at the sixth to drop to even par. Marc Leishman was able to make pars at both holes to stay at one over for the tournament.
11:49 a.m.: Boom! McIlroy buries one from DEEP at the par-3 fourth, 32 feet to be exact, for birdie to get to one under for the week. That’s exactly what he needed to kick start this round. Of course, now he has to avoid dropping that shot at the difficult par-4 fifth. Par there would certainly keep the momentum going.
Leishman had a rough go at the third green, three-putting from long range for a bogey to drop back to one under, tied with McIlroy. Also at one under is amateur Takumi Kanaya, who has by far the low round on the course as he is four under through 10 holes. Patrick Cantlay might match him soon though, as he’s three under through seven and one under for the week.
11:42 a.m.: Another close call for Rory McIlroy at No. 3. This time his birdie putt lipped out and he settled for par, yielding an all-time eye roll from the Northern Irishman. Still plenty of golf left, but it can’t help the momentum to be stuck at even through three holes after having two good looks at birdie. It also can’t help that he had to watch Marc Leishman’s putt catch the lip and fall in for his second birdie in a row. Leish is now two under for the week, making him the closest player to the leaders out on the course.
11:34 a.m.: By the way, for those interested, Jeff Knox is indeed playing this morning as a marker at Augusta National. Some reports that circulated on Golf Twitter said he may be passing the torch to someone else, but thankfully those weren’t true, and the legendary ANGC member is more than halfway through his round with Eddie Pepperell, who is one over through 13 holes and four over for the week. Here’s photographic proof:
11:30 a.m.: It’s only been two holes, but it already feels like one of those frustrating rounds for Rory McIlroy on the greens. He’s missed two birdie putts by inches. Meanwhile, his playing partner Marc Leishman just had an all-world two-putt from the back right part of the second green to make his birdie and reach one under for the tournament.
11:26 a.m.: While Sunday’s forecast still appears to be “ominous,” it looks like we are completely in the clear on Saturday:
Let’s hope Mother Nature changes her mind and doesn’t ruin all the fun tomorrow.
11:12 a.m.: Couple of intriguing moves are already being made on Saturday. Hideki Matsuyama, who began the day eight off the lead, is two under through three holes, one under for the tournament. It’s imperative for all these guys in the back of the pack to pick up early birdies at the par-5 second and the short par-4 fourth if they want to make a real move, and Matsuyama has done just that. England’s Tyrrell Hatton also made birdies at No.’s 2 and 3, putting him at even par. Patrick Cantlay has made two early birdies as well, though his came at the first and fourth holes, getting him to even par for the tournament.
The low round on the course belongs to amateur Takumi Kanaya, who is three under through eight holes, even par for the week. Back at No. 1, Rory McIlroy and Marc Leishman each began their rounds with pars.