Scheffler, cool under pressure, closes in on Masters title


Golf — The Masters — Augusta National Golf Club — Augusta, Georgia, U.S. — April 9, 2022 Scottie Scheffler of the U.S. reacts after chipping onto the 2nd green during the third round REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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AUGUSTA, Ga., April 9 (Reuters) — Scottie Scheffler kept putting on a vest in between shots during a chilly third round at the Masters on Saturday and, if things keep going his way, could very well leave Augusta National this week with a Green Jacket to stay warm.

Scheffler carded a one-under-par 71 that left him at nine under for the week at Augusta National where he will take a three-shot lead over Australian Cameron Smith into Sunday’s final round in search of his first major title.

«I had a lot of fun out there,» said Scheffler, who is the only player this week with three sub-par rounds. «I talked about at the beginning of the week that being in contention is what’s fun, so being in the lead is fun.

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«When I’m in the lead, I’m trying to stay in the lead and not really overthink things; just go out there and play golf.»

Scheffler showcased his ability to hold his nerve at the par-four 18th where he salvaged a bogey after an errant tee shot that created a bit of a scene as several people were searching for a ball that was ultimately found in a bush.

After taking an unplayable lie that resulted in a penalty stroke, Scheffler fired his third shot from 237 yards away into the green where it raced by the hole and off the back of the putting surface from where he coolly got up and down.

«You hate bogeying the last hole, but the way I bogeyed it, it for sure felt like a par,» said Scheffler. «Definitely a good finish to the day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.»

Competing this week for the first time since he took over the world number one ranking, the 25-year-old Scheffler was a picture of calm even when he encountered trouble during a round where only nine players managed to break par.

But just as it looked like Scheffler might run away with things his nerve was put to the test as his lead, which at one point on the front nine was six shots, was cut in half after a four-hole stretch where he carded three bogeys and a birdie.

At the par-three 12th, Scheffler’s ball found the front bunker before his second shot skid past the pin and rolled off the back of the green en route to a bogey.

He responded with a five-foot birdie at 13 but bogeyed the next two holes after missing the green at the 14th and dropped another shot with a three-putt at the 15th.

«I was playing some good golf, and outside of a couple holes on the back nine, I could have had a really great round, but I still had a really good round today,» said Scheffler.

«Anything in the red numbers today was going to be solid, and I was fortunate to do so.»

Scheffler arrived at Augusta National as the hottest player on the planet after earning the first three PGA Tour wins of his career over his last five starts and now is now on the cusp of the biggest win of his life.

«Should be a great fight tomorrow,» said Scheffler.

«Playing in the final group is always so much fun, so I’m

looking forward to it.»

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Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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