Moving day leaves old, new in final pairing
April, 7, 2012
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty ImagesPeter Hanson finds himself in an usual position heading into the final round of the Masters, leading a major after 54 holes for the first time.Moving day at the Masters saw plenty of shuffling on the leaderboard, as the best rounds were shot by those outside the final three pairings.
Seven players entered the third round within one stroke of the lead. Of that group, only two golfers broke par on Saturday. Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson shot 3-under par and will be paired together in the second to last group on Sunday.
The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing 19 out of the last 21 years, but both exceptions came in the last five events. Last year’s champion Charl Schwartzel was tied for second but played in the penultimate group, and Zach Johnson was tied for fourth in 2007.
Only one Masters champion has come from outside the top-10 on the leaderboard after 54 holes. Art Wall Jr. was six strokes back and tied for 13th heading into the final round before winning the title in 1959.
This year’s PGA TOUR has seen several large comebacks on Sunday. Four different golfers have come from at least six shots down in the final round to win a title.
The last 13 majors have been won by 13 different players. Also in that span, the last seven and 10 of the last 11 champions have been first-time major winners. Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters was the only exception.
Sunday’s final pairing
The final pairing on Sunday will be Peter Hanson and Mickelson.
Before finishing with the third-round lead, Hanson had never been within five shots of the lead entering the final round of a major. In the first three rounds, he leads the field with 18 birdies.
Hanson recorded the ninth score of 65 of better in the Masters third round over the last 40 years. Only two of the previous eight instances led to a title. Tiger Woods won at Augusta in 1997 and 2005 after shooting seven-under in the third round.
After shooting nine straight pars to start the round, Mickelson was six-under on the back nine. His 66 on Saturday was his first career round of six-under or better on the weekend in a major.
With a win, Mickelson can match Woods and Arnold Palmer with his fourth green jacket. Only Jack Nicklaus, with six, would have more.
Mickelson and Woods have been identical statistically this week, with one major exception. Woods has needed 10 more putts to complete his rounds.
Louis Oosthuizen: looking to become the sixth player to win the Masters and Open Championship at St. Andrew’s
Matt Kuchar: within five shots of the lead entering the final round of a major for the first time
Sergio Garcia: after shooting a 75 on Saturday, hasn’t broken par in the third round of the Masters since 2002
Rory McIlroy: his 77 on Saturday was the third time in 13 career rounds at the Masters that he shot five-over or worse
Tiger Woods: failed to birdie a par-5 the last two rounds after only failing to birdie twice in his first 61 rounds at the Masters as a professional