Masters Green Jacket showdown pits youth against experience

golf14 April 2024 15:23| © Reuters
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Scottie Scheffler © Gallo Images

Scottie Scheffler will take a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round of the Masters which is shaping up as a Green Jacket showdown of youth and experience.

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World No 1 Scheffler started the week as the red-hot favourite to claim a second Masters title and will step on to the first tee at 2.35 PM (1835 GMT) with playing partner and twice major winner Collin Morikawa still the man to beat.

Scheffler birdied his final hole on Saturday to emerge from a packed leaderboard to secure a one-shot edge on Morikawa, setting the stage for a final-round thriller that will play out on a perfect day at Augusta National.

With a win, Scheffler would become the 18th player to win the Masters multiple times and the first to accomplish the feat since Bubba Watson in 2014.

Already a British Open and PGA Championship winner, the 27-year-old Morikawa, the only golfer to break par in all three rounds, said that knowing how to close the deal was a key to winning the Green Jacket.

The final round is far from a two-horse race though.

Max Homa, whose best Masters finish in four visits to Augusta was a tie for 43rd last year, lurks two back while Swedish young gun Ludvig Aberg has displayed nerves of steel in his major championship debut and sits alone in fourth, three off the pace.

LIV Golf's Bryson DeChambeau, who topped the leaderboard through the first two rounds, will be a danger man four back, with Olympic champion Xander Schauffele five behind.

Tiger Woods will not be in the hunt for a sixth Green Jacket but will be motivated to atone for an horrific third-round 10-over-par 82, his worst major round as a professional.

Fresh off his Masters record-setting 24th cut, Woods appeared to simply run out of gas on Saturday, piling up eight bogeys and two double bogeys offset by just two birdies.

Coming into the Masters, Woods had played just 24 holes this year and had to get through nearly as many on a marathon Friday that began with completing the last five holes of his weather-delayed opening round followed immediately by another 18.

That effort, both physical and mental, seemed to be too much for a golfer who has struggled for fitness for years dealing with back, knee and ankle injuries and a near fatal car crash in 2021 that almost resulted in the amputation of his right leg.

But Woods was not waving the white flag and was back out for the final round wearing his traditional Sunday red and looking to make a charge.