Golf-Masters co-leader Scheffler looks to seize control at Augusta National

By Thomson Reuters Apr 13, 2024 | 10:42 AM

By Frank Pingue

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Third round action of the Masters was underway with Rory McIlroy out early and looking to breathe life into his Grand Slam hopes well before halfway leaders Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau were due to tee off on Saturday.

McIlroy, who needs a Masters win to complete his collection of golf’s four major titles, set out under brilliant blue skies and calmer conditions a day after wind whipped through Augusta National and only eight players managed to break par.

World number two McIlroy began the day 10 shots back of the overnight leaders but the Northern Irishman was undaunted by the challenge that awaits him.

“I won from 10 back in Dubai at the start of the year,” McIlroy said after Friday’s second round. “I still think I can go out tomorrow and shoot a low one, get back into red numbers, and have half a chance going into Sunday.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm, who just squeaked inside the cut line, also went out with the early starters and would need a remarkable outing if he wants to have any chance at becoming the fourth player to repeat as Masters champion.

Five-times champion Tiger Woods, who this week set a Masters record with his 24th consecutive made cut, is seven shots back and due to start his round at 12:45 p.m. ET (1645 GMT) alongside England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

DeChambeau, who is at six under on the week and one of the eight LIV Golf players who made the cut, will set off at 2:45 p.m. ET in the final pairing with Homa, who is playing in his fifth Masters.

Playing one group ahead will be world number one and pre-tournament favourite Scheffler, who has said he would depart Augusta National at a moment’s notice should his pregnant wife, who is not due until the end of the month, go into labour.

“She’s obviously my biggest supporter, and I definitely miss having her here,” Scheffler said on Friday. “But it’s an exciting time for us in our lives, and yeah, fortunately she’s still at home and feeling good, so we are grateful for that.”

Scheffler will be playing alongside Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard, who is two shots off the lead in his bid to become the first Masters debutant to win the Green Jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Sitting a further shot back are Australian Cameron Davis, who is making his second Masters appearance, and twice major champion Collin Morikawa.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar)