World number Scottie Scheffler said he was relishing a “fight” with nearest rival Cameron Smith as he closed in on a first major title in the 86th Masters.
Scheffler was six shots clear of the field after eight holes of the third round at Augusta National, but eventually had to settle for a three-stroke advantage as the Australian produced the lowest round of the day – a 68 – in testing conditions.
“It should be a great fight,” Scheffler said after his 71. “Obviously Cam is a tremendous player, he’s got a fantastic short game and he’s coming off a huge win at The Players (Championship).
“Both of us are in good form so I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of playing with him. For me, being in this position, it’s nice to be in control of the golf tournament.
“And all I’m trying to do out there is be committed to my shots and execute, and after that it’s not really up to me.”
The American heads into the final round on nine under par, with Smith on six under and South Korea’s Sungjae Im two shots further back. Ireland’s Shane Lowry and 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel share fourth place on two under.
Shot of the day
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 9, 2022
Former champion Charl Schwartzel holed out from 136 yards for an eagle on the 10th.
Quote of the day
"Man! I putted AWFUL!" 🤐
Tiger Woods reacts to his performance on the greens on the 3rd day of the Masters ⛳ pic.twitter.com/JPZ30mfDLp
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) April 9, 2022
Tiger Woods does not mince his words after struggling badly on the greens in his 78.
Tweet of the day
— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) April 9, 2022
Kevin Na’s unfortunate five-putt on the 16th is analysed in detail.
Round of the day
Round of the day in tough conditions has Cameron Smith 3 back of the lead. pic.twitter.com/fQpAgkpNNm
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 9, 2022
Smith was the only player to break 70 on day three.
Statistic of the day
This is the third consecutive year that a player leads by at least three strokes entering the final round of the Masters Tournament
2022: 3, Scottie Scheffler
2021: 4, Hideki Matsuyama (won by 1)
2020: 4, Dustin Johnson (won by 5)#theMasters
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) April 9, 2022
The omens look good for Scheffler fans.
The par-five second played as the easiest hole, giving up one eagle, 29 birdies and just three bogeys for a scoring average of 4.462.
The 18th was the most challenging and just two players made birdie, with leader Scheffler one of 19 to make bogey as the par-four played to an average of 4.558.
Skies will quickly clear on Saturday evening with a decreasing breeze, setting the stage for a chilly night. After a cold start on Sunday morning, sunny skies will help temperatures warm into the low 70s during the afternoon with a lighter breeze.