Apparently, more golfers need to embrace the sandwich as their favorite Masters tradition. Enough of the Green Jackets, the Par 3 Contest or skipping balls across the pond at 16 during practice rounds. It’s all about the sandwiches. And Masters Sunday will be all about DJ.
Despite all the big names bunched on the leaderboard going into the third round, one stood above the rest on Saturday afternoon. This morning, we mentioned the names within six shots of the lead, and it was essentially a who’s who in professional golf. Now, the nearest chasers are four strokes back, and are some of the legends of the game: Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy. Oh wait, we read that wrong. It’s actually Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith. Sorry for the mix up. The nearest challenger that you’ve actually heard of is Justin Thomas, six strokes back.
Fortunately, if there was a #1-ranked golfer in the world who you thought might not win with a four-shot lead going into the final round of a major, DJ is your guy. Even if he shoots even par, someone is going to have to shoot at least 68 to tie him. We’re not sure even DJ could blow that kind of lead, but anything is possible. We are sure that he was on our list of 10 to Win though. Let’s check to see how the rest of our Ten are positioned heading into Sunday.
Cantlay: 7-under (14)
Cantlay got an up close look at DJ’s dominance, and ended up shooting 73 to fall out of contention.
DeChambeau: 3-under (T29)
Any time you start on the back nine in the third round of a major, you are irrelevant. We know Bryson is really smart, but if par is actually 67 for him, our math says that he’s 12-over for the tournament. Maybe he should let Augusta National set par, and just work on chipping and putting.
Fowler: 1-under (T44)
Another year with no majors for Rickie.
DJ: 16-under (1)
He has tied the 54-hole scoring record, and if he hits every fairway and only misses two greens tomorrow, he’ll set the all-time scoring record, which is 18-under (Spieth & Woods). By the way, he hit every fairway and only missed two greens Saturday.
Koepka: 8-under (T10)
A solid day has Koepka in prime position to shoot 62 on Sunday and still not win.
McIlroy: 8-under (T10)
Rory shot 67, the second-best round of the day. In the second round, he shot 66, the second-best round of the day. If Rory had only shot even par in the first round, he’d be right in the mix…only 5 shots back of DJ.
Rahm: 9-under (T7)
On the par-5 8th, Rahm hit a beautiful drive, top-hooked (i.e.. Shanked) his second shot into the pine trees, his third shot hit a pine tree and ricocheted into an unplayable lie in a bush. Double bogey later and Rahm’s day was done. He managed to shoot even par and lost 7 shots on the lead.
Thomas: 10-under (6)
JT was 3-under for the day, 12-under for the tournament and poised to challenge DJ when he walked onto the 11th tee. He then played the final 8 holes with 4 bogeys, two birdies and two pars. And now, he’s got a great chance of finishing second.
Watson: 2-under (T36)
Bubba has two green jackets, so he’ll enjoy a nice stroll around Augusta on Sunday and then start getting ready for the Champions Dinner in April.
In the third round, DJ played as close to perfect as you can at Augusta. So, it stands to reason he won’t be that good again on Sunday. The question is, will he play poorly enough that someone can catch him? And if he does, will anyone else step up and be ready to challenge him? With apologies to Im, Ancer, Smith and something called Dylan Fritelli, Thomas seems to be the only one who has a real chance to go low and make things interesting. For the sake of our personal entertainment, let’s hope he does. But we’re fully expecting DJ to slip on the Green Jacket late Sunday afternoon.