Masters Third Round News & Notes

Masters Third Round News & Notes

Masters Third Round News & Notes
April 7th, 2007

Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - Much has been said over the last few years about the Masters winner coming from the final pairing. With the ever- toughening conditions at Augusta this weekend, that could change come Sunday.

Nick Faldo was the last player to win the Masters from outside the final twosome.

He came from three back of Raymond Floyd in 1990 to force a playoff. Faldo defeated Floyd in that playoff to win for the second straight year, with both wins coming in extra sessions.

"Historically, in this tournament the winner has come from the final pairing for however many years," said Phil Mickelson. "There's a good chance that somebody that goes off early and posts a good number can possibly take the title this year."

Thanks to his best round of the week so far, an even-par 72, Tiger Woods (plus-three) will join Stuart Appleby (two-over-par 218) in the final pairing on Sunday.

One interesting note about Woods: He has only two rounds over par in his 12 major championship wins. He opened this week with back-to-back rounds over par (73-74).

The next five players on the leaderboard combine to own four PGA Tour titles, four fewer than Appleby and 52 fewer than Woods.

The biggest comeback after 54 holes was Jack Burke in 1956. He erased an eight-shot deficit thanks to a one-under 71 on the final day to edge Ken Venturi by one stroke.

Burke's winning score that year was 289, plus-one. That is the highest winning score in tournament history.

Lurking four shots behind Appleby are four major champions -- two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen (70), who was the only player to break par on Saturday; defending champion Phil Mickelson; 2001 PGA champ David Toms; and 2003 U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk.

Other major champions within eight of the lead are 2000 Masters champion Vijay Singh (five back), 1989 British Open champ Mark Calcavecchia (seven behind) as well as 1997 PGA champion Davis Love III and reigning U.S. Open title holder Geoff Ogilvy, who are both eight strokes behind Appleby.

THE UNHERALDED AUGUSTA NATIVE

Entering the week, one of the names being talked about was local favorite Charles Howell III. Howell won the Nissan Open earlier this year and took second at the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Buick Invitational.

The other local player who wasn't being discussed was Vaughn Taylor. The 31- year-old owns two PGA Tour crowns and was a member of the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup squad.

Taylor was three-over par after nine holes. He posted his first birdie of the day on the par-five 15th. That was his third birdie in three days on that hole and it gave him the lead at plus-one.

However, Taylor gave that stroke right back with a three-putt bogey on 16. He went on to bogey 17 and 18 as well to end in a share of fourth at four-over- par 220. He will be in the third-to-last group alongside his Ryder Cup teammate Zach Johnson.

MASTERS TIDBITS

- The highest 54-hole score prior to this year was even-par 216. Tommy Jacobs and Jack Nicklaus did that in 1966. Nicklaus and Jacobs shot 72 in the final round before Nicklaus walked off with a playoff win.

- To show how difficult scoring has been this week, there have been just five rounds in the 60s through Saturday. On the flip side, there have been 37 rounds of 80 or worse: 12 on Thursday, 13 Friday and 12 Saturday. Only three players -- Retief Goosen (70), four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods (72) and Lee Westwood (72) -- shot par or better.

- The hardest hole through three rounds was the 505-yard, par-four 11th, which has played to an average of 4.6397 strokes. In round three, the par-four first was most difficult, playing to an average of 4.6167 strokes.

- The easiest hole has been the 570-yard, par-five eighth, where players averaged 4.7037 strokes. In round three, the par-five second was the easiest hole as players averaged 4.8667 strokes, just one of two hole that played under par in the third round.

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Re: Masters Third Round News & Notes

Woods has never come from behind to win a major
April 7th, 2007

Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - Tiger Woods shot his best score on the toughest day, but the four-time Masters champion will need to do something Sunday that he's never done if he plans on being fitted for a fifth green jacket.

He will need to come from behind to win a major.

To be fair, he doesn't have far to go.

On a sunny but chilly Saturday at Augusta, Woods bogeyed his last two holes and shot an even-par 72 in the third round -- good enough to put him one shot behind leader Stuart Appleby after a host of challengers collapsed as twilight approached.

Woods was at three-over 219 to make the final pairing, which has produced every Masters champion since 1991.

"He won't even know I'm there," Appleby joked. "I'm sure I'll know he's there."

Woods was under par on the front nine after making birdies at Nos. 3 and 8, but when he made his first bogey from a bunker at the 12th he was still three shots back.

He made another birdie at the 13th, knocking his approach within two feet, then strung together three straight pars before his bogey-bogey finish.

At the 17th, Woods attempted a severe cut shot from the trees and landed in a bunker. At the 18th, he missed a 12-foot par putt, then looked dejected during a TV interview just off the green.

On a day when grinding out pars could put you in the lead, the world's No. 1 golfer couldn't make two more. If he had, he'd be leading.

"If you make 18 pars, you're going to move up the leaderboard. Around here, that's normally not the case," Woods said.

Of course, Saturday's round was anything but normal. If Augusta showed its teeth over the first two days, it was flat out scowling at the field in the third round.

Woods was one of only three players to shoot par or better -- Retief Goosen was the only one to break it -- and his 72 was more than five shots better than the overall average Saturday.

"This is one of the hardest rounds I think we've ever played here," he said.

Without another major champion within four strokes of the lead, the hours between Saturday's finish and Sunday's ceremony might seem like a stay of execution for the rest of the field.

Not that everyone is giving up hope.

"I don't feel like it's unrealistic," defending champion Phil Mickelson said of his chances. "I've seen people come from seven shots back [but] obviously I needed to shoot under par to really put myself in contention."

Woods has won the last two majors and eight of his last nine stroke-play events on the PGA Tour. It's possible a final score over par could take him one step closer to another Tiger Slam and his 13th major championship.

He's never won a major with a score over par, and only two players have ever won the Masters that way -- Sam Snead and Jack Burke, both in the 1950s.

Snead and Burke finished at one-over 289 in those victories. If Woods shoots a 70 on Sunday, that's precisely where he'll be.

There, and trying on his new green jacket.

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