Scott, Day slide as Woods eyes Masters win

Virginia Santiago
April 15, 2019

Koepka is playing his absolute best at majors right now.

That matched his opening round in 2010 - the year Mickelson claimed his third green jacket. Woods returned and missed the putt, and then took three shots from 35 feet behind the par-5 13th green to lose another prime birdie opportunity.

Woods is one of several players at 2-under, including Bernhard Langer, Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen. Rookie Jovan Rebula, whose uncle is Ernie Els, finished one over.

Two men who were but boys when Woods turned golf upside down will stand next to the 43-year-old on the first tee on Sunday morning at Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods, a four-time Masters champion, made the turn at one-under before hitting the green in two at the par-five 13th and two-putting for a birdie.

DeChambeau ended the day level with three-time major champion Brooks Koepka after carding a six-under-par at Augusta on Thursday.

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Though our storylines have shifted - Jordan Spieth continued his collapse, and Rory McIlroy is fighting from behind - there are still some huge names in contention for a green jacket as the final three days of the Masters plays out.

Normally, the Italian would be in the fourth round's final twosome with Finau, who went out early in the third round and scorched the soft, vulnerable course with a record-tying 30 on the front nine and one of three 64s carded on the day.

"I laid up on my chip to make sure I didn't catch the root and blade it in the water", Woods said. "This is a lot more than I could have hoped for". The only blemish was a three-putt for par on the eighth.

Woods also finished sixth in the Open Championship at Carnoustie and runner-up in the US PGA at Bellerive and added: "The last major championships I have been right there in the mix".

Woods had hit his ball well left of the fairway at Augusta National and played an excellent shot through the trees to the green. He played the first eight holes at even par before kicking it into another gear, starting with a 37-foot birdie putt on No. 9. "So I'm not taking any real demons, any bad shots or bad memories into them, I suppose".

"I've shot this number and won four coats, so hopefully I can do it again".

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Despite his issues, though, Day still found a way to not only put up a respectable round, but one that puts him in contention at two under.

Like Jason Day, Phil Mickelson always finds a way to show up at majors and the Masters in particular.

It's that course knowledge that made Woods an oddsmakers pick this year along with Rory McIlroy, as well as form that saw him win an 80th career US PGA title at the Tour Championship to end a five-year victory drought.

Mickelson, the three-time Masters victor who at 48 could become the oldest major victor ever, kept pace with the 20-something leaders with five birdies in the last seven holes in his five-under 67.

"(It's) just sort of reads more than anything else, he said. "I was able to do that, and I tried to keep the ball below the hole as best as I possibly could".

Perhaps that's why he did most of his damage late, with birdies at 15, 17 and 18. "I missed a couple on the front nine, a couple short ones, but overall I felt my speed was really good all day".

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