The Masters: Scheffler leads going into final round as Woods shoots worst major score

World No 1, aiming to win his second major, is chased by fellow Americans Collin Morikawa and Max Homa

Scottie Scheffler celebrates a birdie on 18 to preserve his lead heading into the final round of the Masters. Getty Images
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World No 1 Scottie Scheffler holds a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Masters after a rollercoaster third day at Augusta National when Tiger Woods shot his highest-ever score at a major.

Bidding to win a second Masters title in three years, Scheffler carded a third round of 71 to finish seven under par, a shot ahead of fellow American Collin Morikawa, whose 69 was one of just two sub-70 scores on Saturday.

Max Homa is two shots off the lead after a 73 containing 17 pars and one bogey, with Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg a shot further back, the 24-year-old having only turned professional 10 months ago.

No player has won the Masters on their major championship debut, but Aberg has defied the odds ever since joining the paid ranks, winning on both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and justifying his wildcard by helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Aberg and Ryder Cup teammate Nicolai Hojgaard both have the chance of becoming the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win on their Masters debut, with Hojgaard briefly holding the outright lead following a hat-trick of birdies from the eighth. But he then bogeyed the next five holes and will start the final round five shots off the pace.

That looked set to be the case, at best, for overnight joint leader Bryson DeChambeau, who duffed a pitch on the 15th into the water to run up a double-bogey seven and carved his drive on the 18th deep into the trees.

The former US Open champion had other ideas though, pitching back on to the fairway and holing out from 77 yards for the most unlikely of birdies to close within four shots of Scheffler.

Scheffler had suffered his own double bogey on the 10th and also bogeyed the 11th to fall two shots behind playing partner Hojgaard, but holed from 30 feet for an eagle on the 13th and birdied the 18th to claim the outright lead.

“I feel like my game is in a good spot and has been for a while,” said Scheffler, who boasted form figures of 1-1-2 coming into the week.

“Major championships are always very challenging and it’s nice having a lead going into tomorrow. The eagle on 13 was extremely important.”

Woods sets unwanted major milestone

A day after setting a tournament record in the Masters, Woods suffered an unwanted milestone at Augusta National.

Woods insisted he could challenge for a 16th major title after playing 23 holes on Friday to make a record 24th consecutive cut, but slumped to a third round of 82 instead.

The 48-year-old American’s previous worst scores both came in 2022, when he shot 78 in both the third and fourth rounds.

Woods followed a bogey on the fourth with a superb birdie on the difficult fifth, but then bogeyed the sixth and ran up a double bogey on the seventh.

The 15-time major winner also made a double bogey on the par-five eighth for the first time in his career and dropped another shot on the ninth in a front nine of 42.

Woods made five more bogeys and a birdie on the 13th in a back nine of 40 in what was his 99th round in the Masters.

Asked what the biggest challenge he had faced was, Woods said: “The fact that I was not hitting it very good or putting well. I didn’t have a very good warm-up session and I kept it going all day today. Just hit the ball in all the places that I know I shouldn’t hit it. And I missed a lot of putts. Easy, makeable putts. I missed a lot of them.”

Woods, who had played just 24 holes of competitive golf in 2024 before this week, added: “It’s just that I haven’t competed and played much.

“When I had chances to get it flipped around and when I made that putt at five, I promptly three-putted six and flub a chip at seven and just got it going the wrong way, and when I had opportunities to flip it, I didn’t.”

Woods acknowledged he had been worn out by Friday’s marathon day of play, but insisted he would be back for the fourth round.

“My team will get me ready," he said. "It will be a long night and a long warm-up session, but we’ll be ready.”

Updated: April 14, 2024, 5:10 AM