A nice little Saturday

To the joy of many golf fans, Friday saw Charley Hoffman grab a ticket on the bogey train, bringing the field back into the tournament. After 36 holes, we have a four-way tie at the top between Hoffman, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler. The quartet sits at 4 under, two shots clear of William McGirt and Justin Rose and three shots clear of Jon Rahm, Ryan Moore and 57-year-old Freddie Couples. Many other big names are lurking, with 18 players within six shots of the lead including Phil Mickelson (E), Jordan Spieth (E), Adam Scott (E) and Rory McIlroy (+1). Full scores

Credit: Masters.com

Credit: Masters.com

Weekend Weather and Conditions

The heavy winds that have tormented players are forecasted to break Saturday, with warmer temperatures creating ideal conditions over the weekend at Augusta National. The course should play firm and fast and I would expect pins to be tucked on moving day. The wind in the early rounds placed a premium on ballstriking and the leaderboard shows it. But with conditions improving, we could see a charge from deeper in the pack if someone’s putter gets hot.

The bunched leaderboard should set up an epic moving day with tons of star power on the leaderboard. Here are some pairings to watch:

Charley Hoffman - Sergio Garcia (3:00 p.m. ET)
Garcia is one of golf’s “Best Players Without a Major.” Is this the week he finally makes up for a career’s worth of heartbreak? Hoffman is a PGA TOUR veteran and proven winner, but his limited experience contending in majors should for a compelling weekend.

Thomas Pieters - Rickie Fowler (2:50 p.m. ET)
A rising European star and one of golf’s biggest names. Each will look to earn their first major championship. Pieters is also looking to become the first Masters rookie to win the championship since 1979, while Fowler will look to fill the only hole in his sparkling resume.

Jon Rahm - Freddie Couples (2:30 p.m. ET)
The young and the old. Freddie’s run at Augusta at 57 is remarkable and Jon Rahm seems to be flying under the radar and only three shots back.

Justin Rose - Adam Scott (2:20 p.m. ET)
Two studs with great track records at Augusta. I would expect at least one of them to make a serious run.

Jordan Spieth - Phil Mickelson (2:10 p.m. ET)
This twosome will surely get their fair share of airtime. Despite a nine on the 15th on Thursday, Spieth sits just four shots off the lead. Meanwhile, Phil will look to add a fourth green jacket at 46… The same age Jack Nicklaus famously won his final Masters in 1986.

Matt Kuchar - Rory McIlroy (2:00 p.m. ET)
Rory was able to battle through tough conditions with less than his A-Game and still has a chance at capturing the Green Jacket and the career Grand Slam. Kuchar has three top-10s at Augusta and hasn’t shot an over-par round on a Masters Saturday since 2010.

Stewart Hagestad (a) - Brian Stuard (12:40 p.m. ET)
This one isn’t here for Brian Stuard. Can Hagestad keep up his strong play and possibly get in the mix?
Full tee times

A look ahead & back

NLU’s Tron Carter and D.J. Piehowski jumped on the podcast to break down the action thus far and take a look at what could happen this weekend. Listen on the website or on iTunes.

 

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