Sunday's Superman -- Scheffler or Smith?

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Two best players square off, green jacket awaits
Posted on
April 10, 2022
by
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

R1: Tiger on Prowl at Augusta
R2: Scheffler's Seismic Surge
R4: Scheffler slams door shut, wins first major at Masters

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

 

AUGUSTA, GA.  Sunday's final round at the 86th Masters will feature the two best players in 2022 paired together and, in all likelihood, one earning the coveted green jacket symbolic of victory.

Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith will have ringside seats with one another when the final grouping tees off at 2:40 PM local time. The duo pits the world ranked number one player versus the 6th .

Scheffler scored a one-under-par 71 for the third round and stands at a cumulative score of 207. Smith scored the day's low round with a four-under-par 68 and is the closest pursuer three shots behind at 210.

 

There are other players in the mix with the likes of Sungjae Im (212) and Shane Lowry and Charl Schwartzel sharing fourth place (214). After the first round 18 players were under-par. That number has shrunk to just seven. Corey Connors and Justin Thomas round out the grouping in the red (215).

Blustery conditions and temperatures that said 55 degrees but had a real feel of 10 degrees below that played a significant role in keeping the entire field at bay at numerous key moments. Just nine players scored under-par for the day. The forecast for Sunday indicated milder wind velocities and overall temperatures rising into the low 70s.

Starting the third round with a five stroke lead it appeared Scheffler would distance himself even further from the field. At one point he commanded a six-shot lead. But, Scheffler found the final few holes difficult while Smith provided the most impactful effort firing the day's best round with a four-under-par 68.

Scheffler's once sizeable lead is now just three shots and he is most fortunate because the final few holes Saturday showed certain vulnerabilities that may resurface again during the pressurized moments that come with the final round of any major event. Back-to-back bogies at the 14th and 15th were stabilized with a short birdie putt at the 17th. However, a poor tee shot at the 18th resulted in the necessity of taking a one-shot unplayable penalty but Scheffler minimized the damage in scoring no more than a bogie.

 

Smith took advantage of the four par-5 holes with birdies on each. The long blemish on the second nine came when the 28-year-old missed a short par putt at the 16th. 

The 2022 Masters has provided a clear pathway for the next generation of up-and-coming players to make their mark. Scheffler and Smith are part of an ensemble of talented under-30 players who are now on the front row in contesting for the game's premier events. Players such as 25-year-old Collin Morikawa have already won two majors. 

The page turning from one generation to the next will be on full display when Scheffler and Smith go mano-a-mano in the final round.  Should either accomplish a memorable win -- the letter "S" on the Superman cape will mean a similar connection to the famed comic book hero.

The truism that time and tide wait for no man is no less apt at the highest levels of professional golf.

 

 


Masters Minutia

*A victory for Cameron Smith would mean the second Aussie win at the Masters. Fellow countryman Adam Scott was the first with his triumph in 2013. A win at Augusta would also mean Smith matching the feat accomplished by Tiger Woods when he won The Players Championship and Masters in the same year in 2001.

*A victory for Scottie Scheffler would mark his fourth win on the PGA Tour and cement his hold as golf's number-one-player. Claiming the Masters would also make him the first Texan to win the event since Jordan Spieth did so in 2015.

 

*Tiger Woods had an eventful day scoring his highest competitive round in his Masters career with a 78 -- including a double-bogey 6 at the final hole. Returning to Augusta after suffering a major car accident in February 2021, Woods endured a balky putter -- the most egregious flub coming at the 5th where the 5-time Masters champion did something he's never done in 23 appearances at Augusta National -- four-putt. The pain with the putter went further -- four thee-putt greens. The 46-year-old walked gingerly on the hilly grounds with a right leg that is supported by plates, screws and rods.

Nonetheless, Woods will seek to complete 72 holes with today's round. Few expected him back at this year's Masters and even fewer thought he would be able to play on the weekend. On that score alone -- the week has been another plus for Tiger.

*For this year's Masters the par-4 11th hole was both lengthened and the championship tee aligned slightly more to the left. A number of trees planted along the right side also altered and slightly opened up the landing area.

The 11th is tied with the par-4 5th for the least number of birdies yielded through three rounds with just 8 made. The hole has also played the hardest relative to par with an average of 4.48.

 

 

*The par-5 15th was also altered for this year's event. The hole was lengthened to 550 yards and while birdies have still been made it is playing the hardest of the quartet of par-5 holes. There have also been no eagles made on the hole through three rounds and much of that is also tied to the headwind and cooler temperatures players have faced throughout the event. 

*Masters co-founder Bob Jones wanted the event to always provide spots in the field to the top amateur players. At the annual post event awards ceremony, the low amateur completing 72 holes would be duly honored for the accomplishment. None of the six competing made it to the weekend.

 

86th Masters / 3rd round scores
Augusta National Golf Club

Pos. Player To Par R1 R2 R3 Total
1 Scottie Scheffler -9 69 67 71 207
2 Cameron Smith -6 68 74 68 210
3 Sungjae Im -4 67 74 71 212
T4 Shane Lowry -2 73 68 73 214
T4 Charl Schwartzel -2 72 69 73 214
T6 Justin Thomas -1 76 67 72 215
T6 Corey Conners -1 70 73 72 215
8 Danny Willett Par 69 74 73 216
T9 Tommy Fleetwood +1 75 72 70 217
T9 Jason Kokrak +1 70 76 71 217
T9 Rory McIlroy +1 73 73 71 217
T9 Collin Morikawa +1 73 70 74 217
T9 Dustin Johnson +1 69 73 75 217
T14 Cameron Champ +2 72 75 71 218
T14 Webb Simpson +2 71 74 73 218
T14 Will Zalatoris +2 71 72 75 218
T14 Hideki Matsuyama +2 72 69 77 218
T18 Viktor Hovland +3 72 76 71 219
T18 Marc Leishman +3 73 75 71 219
T18 Talor Gooch +3 72 74 73 219
T18 Si Woo Kim +3 76 70 73 219
T18 Harry Higgs +3 71 75 73 219
T18 Hudson Swafford +3 77 69 73 219
T18 Lee Westwood +3 72 74 73 219
T18 J.J. Spaun +3 74 70 75 219
T26 Min Woo Lee +4 73 75 72 220
T26 Lucas Glover +4 72 76 72 220
T26 Patrick Reed +4 74 73 73 220
T26 Tony Finau +4 71 75 74 220
T26 Sergio Garcia +4 72 74 74 220
T26 Kevin Kisner +4 75 70 75 220
T26 Matthew Fitzpatrick +4 71 73 76 220
T26 Joaquin Niemann +4 69 74 77 220
T34 Christiaan Bezuidenhout +5 73 71 77 221
T34 Kevin Na +5 71 71 79 221
T36 Seamus Power +6 74 74 74 222
T36 Tom Hoge +6 73 74 75 222
T36 Sepp Straka +6 74 72 76 222
T36 Robert MacIntyre +6 73 73 76 222
T36 Harold Varner III +6 71 71 80 222
T41 Russell Henley +7 73 74 76 223
T41 Daniel Berger +7 71 75 77 223
T41 Jon Rahm +7 74 72 77 223
T41 Tiger Woods +7 71 74 78 223
T45 Max Homa +8 74 73 77 224
T45 Bubba Watson +8 73 73 78 224
T45 Patrick Cantlay +8 70 75 79 224
T48 Mackenzie Hughes +9 73 75 77 225
T48 Tyrrell Hatton +9 72 74 79 225
50 Billy Horschel +10 74 73 79 226
51 Cameron Davis +11 75 73 79 227
52 Adam Scott +12 74 74 80 228
             
             
CUT Takumi Kanaya +5 75 74   149
CUT Sam Burns +5 75 74   149
CUT Padraig Harrington +5 74 75   149
CUT Kyoung-Hoon Lee +5 74 75   149
CUT Brian Harman +5 74 75   149
CUT Zach Johnson +5 74 75   149
CUT Lucas Herbert +6 74 76   150
CUT Jordan Spieth +6 74 76   150
CUT Brooks Koepka +6 75 75   150
CUT Mike Weir +6 74 76   150
CUT Ryan Palmer +6 75 75   150
CUT Keita Nakajima (a) +7 72 79   151
CUT Abraham Ancer +7 72 79   151
CUT Xander Schauffele +7 74 77   151
CUT Austin Greaser (a) +7 74 77   151
CUT Stewart Cink +7 76 75   151
CUT Erik van Rooyen +8 73 79   152
CUT Bernhard Langer +8 76 76   152
CUT Justin Rose +8 76 76   152
CUT Gary Woodland +8 75 77   152
CUT Francesco Molinari +8 78 74   152
CUT Guido Migliozzi +8 75 77   152
CUT Luke List +8 77 75   152
CUT Fred Couples +10 75 79   154
CUT Cameron Young +10 77 77   154
CUT Larry Mize +11 77 78   155
CUT Garrick Higgo +11 72 83   155
CUT Aaron Jarvis (a) +11 81 74   155
CUT James Piot (a) +11 81 74   155
CUT Bryson DeChambeau +12 76 80   156
CUT Sandy Lyle +14 82 76   158
CUT Vijay Singh +14 78 80   158
CUT Thomas Pieters +15 79 80   159
CUT Matthew Wolff +15 81 78   159
CUT Stewart Hagestad (a) +16 79 81   160
CUT Jose Maria Olazabal +17 77 84   161
CUT Laird Shepherd (a) +22 81 85   166
W/D Louis Oosthuizen   76     76

 

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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