Scottie Scheffler leads Collin Morikawa by one after three rounds of the 2024 Masters
14 Apr,2024 Credit : Warren Little - Getty Images

By Tim Liotta


Scottie Scheffler leads Collin Morikawa by one after three rounds of the 2024 Masters

Scottie Scheffler played Augusta National's back-nine par-5s in 3-under-par on Saturday, then birdied the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa after three rounds of the 2024 Masters Tournament. 

While the winds were more manageable, Augusta National continued to dry out and greens became even faster, allowing only 12 sub-par rounds, while 13 of the 14 holes that were not par-5s gave up 10 or fewer birdies, with seven yielding five or fewer. 

After a double-bogey on 10 and a bogey on 11 dropped him two shots off the lead, Scheffler made an eagle put on the par-5 13th hole, then birdied the par-5 15th to reach 6-under par. The normally reserved Scheffler reacted to his eagle putt dropping with a look to his caddy and a vigorous fist pump.

"That's why I think you saw a bit of emotion there from me on 13 because it was an important time in the tournament," Scheffler said. "And it was nice kind of turning my Saturday around. And, yeah, I felt like I didn't take advantage of the two par 5s on the front. So it's nice to get a few shots back there on the back nine."

Scheffler took the lead with a drive down the right side of the 18th fairway, an 161-yard iron shot to eight feet, and another fist pump after the putt fell. 

"Proud of how I played today," Scheffler said. "It was a good fight out there. The golf course was extremely challenging. The greens were very firm, very fast, and it was extremely difficult again today. So probably looking for more of the same tomorrow."

Scottie Scheffler's Major Championship Record

Morikawa birdied the first three holes, but was only able to play even-par the rest of the way, posting just one birdie against one bogey as making pars was the order of the day.

Collin Morikawa's Major Championship Record

Max Homa was two shots back at 4-under-par after playing patiently but failing to make a birdie en route to a 1-over-par 73 that saw him make 17 pars and a bogey on the par-3 12th hole when a chip ran a little further than expected. 

Homa described his round as: "Hard, very patient. I would say frustrating at times, but also really, really pleased with it.

"I don't know what more I could have done. Could I have seen some putts go in, but I don't hate how I putt. Started the ball on the line a lot. The greens got really fast. So adjusting to that took a couple holes."

Max Homa's Major Championship Record

Morikawa, Homa and Aberg were only able to play 13 and 15 in even par, while Bryson DeChambeau played them 2-over, flubbing a chip into the pond in front of 15 en route to a double-bogey. Morikawa 3-putted 13 after reaching it in two - his first 3-putt of the tournament. After a birdie on 13, Aberg reached 15 in two, but needed four shots from just off the green to get the ball in the hole, resulting in a bogey.

Aberg, playing in the first major of his career, lost a share of the lead with bogeys on 14 and 15, finishing three shots back at 4-under-par. 

Four shots back of Scheffler at 3-under was DeChambeau, who bogeyed 16 after his double-bogey on 15, but kept himself in the golf tournament by sinking a 77-yard wedge shot on the final hole. 

Nicolai Hojgaard - playing in his first Masters - Xander Schauffele and Cam Davis were four shots back at 2-under-par. Hojgaard found himself alone in front after three consecutive birdies on 8, 9 and 10, and then promptly bogeyed the next five holes in a row. 

One day after high winds saw as many players (8) break par as failed to break 80, birdies continued to be difficult to make, with the par-3 fourth yielding a single birdie on Saturday, and holes 5 through 7 giving up a grand total of 10. On the back nine, holes 16, 17 and 18 have yielded 5, 4 and 6 respectively.

"Obviously a little bit easier (than Saturday), said defending champ Jon Rahm, "but the golf course is quite firm and fast also, so that's always going to make things a little more interesting."

Sunday's final group pairing of Scheffler and Morikawa will offer two players looking to add to their major-championship resumes. 

Both are seeking the third major championship of their career. Morikawa is playing in the 17th major of his career, Scheffler the 18th of his.

Scheffler would become the fourth-youngest player to win the Masters multiple times. Only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros were younger.

Morikawa would become the eighth player all-time to win the Masters, PGA Championship and the Open Championship. The other seven are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen).

Sunday's play begins with 12 players within five shots of Scheffler's lead. 

Other Saturday rounds of note: 

Chris Kirk (+1 for the tournament) shot the low round of the day, posting a 4-under-par 68 filled with five birdies against a bogey on the par-3 16th hole when he hit his tee shot into the pine straw long, right of the green. 

Xander Schauffele (-2) posted a bogey-free, 2-under-par 70, with his birdies coming at Nos. 3 & 13. On the 18th hole, he hit his drive deep into the trees on the right, found  an opening and punched out his second shot over the green. After his first putt from off the green was too strong, Schauffele needed to make a 15-footer for his par.  

Patrick Cantlay (Even) also shot a 2-under-par 70, with birdies on three of the four par-5s, with his bogey coming on 18 when his 4-foot par putt burned the edge.

Cam Smith (-1) birdied No. 3, and played bogey-free until the 18th hole when he drove into the trees on the right, punched out, wedged to 8 feet only to see his par putt slide by.

Jon Rahm (+5) shot an even-par 72, with 16 pars, one bogey, one birdie. Rahm bogeyed No. 7 after pushing his drive into the trees in right rough, punched out into the bunker in front of the green, blasted out long, and left his 15-foot par putt just short.   

Rory McIlroy (+3) posted a 1-under-par 71 with a birdies on the two front-nine par-5s. McIlroy has yet to birdie either of the par-5s on the back nine this week. 

Ryan Fox (+4) posted a 5-over-par 77 after birdies on the first three holes - he also birdied the first three holes in Round One. Bogeys on 7, 8 and 9 netted him 36 on the front, while a triple-bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 capped a 41 on the back.

Par-5 Scoreboard:

No. 2 - one eagle (Luke List), 17 birdies, 37 pars, 4 bogeys, 1 double-bogey (Corey Conners).

No. 8 - zero eagles, 27 birdies, two bogeys (Brooks Koepka, Ryan Fox), 1 double-bogey (Tiger Woods).

No. 13- one eagle (Scottie Scheffler), 22 birdies, 31 pars, 6 bogeys.  

No. 15- zero eagles, 12 birdies, 35 pars, 11 bogeys, 2 double-bogeys (Kurt Kitayama, Bryson DeChambeau)