Saturday, April 10, 2010

Westwood, Mickelson in Final Group at 2010 Masters

The Masters - Round Three
Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson are both in the catbird seat going into tomorrow's final round at the 2010 Masters. 18 of the last 19 Masters champs have come from the final pairing with Zach Johnson being the only exception in 2007. Westwood remained steady after having shared the 2nd round lead with countryman Ian Poulter. His smooth 68 gave him a single stroke advantage over Mickelson. Poulter's fate wasn't quite so favorable as he slipped to a tie for 6th with a 74. Mickelson tied for the day's best round with a 67. You had to see it to believe it however as he was 5 under on holes 13, 14, and 15 by going eagle, eagle, birdie. That run was highlighted by an incredulous fairway hole-out on 14 from 139 yards. Tiger Woods and KJ Choi should perhaps get a room as they will be paired again in the second to last group. That marks four straight days playing together. They'll start tomorrow's round at -8, 4 behind Westwood. Woods opened today's round with birdies on one and three and finished with a birdie. In between was marked by him struggling with his putter. His mid-round highlights featured five bogies. Expect him to be a pin seeking monster on Sunday to close the deficit. That could be a dangerous strategy, but necessary nonetheless. You can't count on both Westwood and Mickelson to be off their games, especially in light of how they've played thus far. Fred Couples put himself back into the mix with a 68. He's in solo 5th place at -7, five back. Ricky Barnes and Hunter Mahan at -6 have a remote chance, but would need a lot of things to go right for them and a lot of things to go wrong for the leaders. Poulter resides at -6 as well, but today's 74 has seemed to take the startch out of his sails. At -5 are Anthony Kim and YE Yang. Neither has much of a shot, but can pad their paychecks with a good round and a move up the board. Full Field 3rd Round Scores.

Expect perfect weather and conditions for tomorrow's finale. Remember that no one is exempt from pressure under these conditions and so much at stake. The beauty of Augusta is it allows, especially on the back nine, tremendous risk/reward holes that can swell or disintegrate a lead in a matter of minutes. All that adds up to what should fascinating viewing. It only happens once a year, so be there or be square.




Til' next,

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