Sunday
APRIL 9, 2017
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By GARY VAN SICKLE

Jordan Spieth is in a rut. Four straight years, four straight chances to win the Masters going into the final round. He could get used to this. Correction, he already should be used to this.

Spieth held the 54-hole lead in each of the last three years here, but the situation is different this time. He’s in the next-to-last pairing Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, two strokes behind Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia and one behind Rickie Fowler.

Sixteen players are bunched within six shots of the lead, and they include pedigreed names such as Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. Never mind them – no offense, gents – but Spieth is the man to beat.


By ALEX MICELI

One of golf’s favorite cliches is that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. For the 49 challengers playing ahead of the final two pairings today, a low score on the front nine will be vital. Otherwise for them, the back nine won’t matter.

Co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia (6-under 210), plus Rickie Fowler (5 under) and Jordan Spieth (4 under) – all among the top 14 in the world – are in the final two groups this afternoon at Augusta National Golf Club. The winner of the 81st Masters likely will come from those two pairings – Fowler and Spieth at 2:35 p.m. EDT and Rose and Garcia at 2:45 – for two reasons



By STEVE ELLING

Anybody who has worked in media, particularly the press corps at Augusta National, knows all too well how difficult it can be to produce consistently entertaining content before the Masters begins.

There are acres of newshole to be filled, eight months between major championships, and the run-up to the first round seemingly lasts forever once tournament week arrives. The content often becomes a predictable mix of speculative, predictive or retrospective fare.

Imagine facing a variation of that task on a daily basis.


Saturday’s third round

Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club (7,435 yards, par 72, a-amateur)

T1

Justin Rose

71

72

67

210

-6

T1

Sergio Garcia

71

69

70

210

-6

3

Rickie Fowler

73

67

71

211

-5

T4

Jordan Spieth

75

69

68

212

-4

T4

Ryan Moore

74

69

69

212

-4

T4

Charley Hoffman

65

75

72

212

-4


Sunday’s final round (all times EDT; a-amateur)

10:05 a.m. – Ernie Els

10:15 a.m. – Marc Leishman, Larry Mize

10:25 a.m. – Andy Sullivan, Bernd Wiesberger

10:35 a.m. – a-Curtis Luck, James Hahn

10:45 a.m. – Adam Hadwin, Louis Oosthuizen


Marshal calls Thompson ruling ‘a sham’

I was an on-course walking marshal during the ANA Inspiration for three days. Ball marking was never a concern with any of the players. All of the women whom I watched and marshaled were respectful of the rules and played with integrity. That included Lexi Thompson (“4-stroke penalty stuns Thompson at ANA,” April 3, bit.ly/2nxsvFa).

The two issues I have are, first, golf seems to be the only sport where a TV viewer can influence the outcome of a major tournament, and that option needs to be completely eliminated. Second, receiving an additional two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard, when the player never knew the card was incorrect and wasn't informed of that infraction until the next day, was overkill, and the rules officials should be fired.


Keeping score

1

Number of eventual Masters champions who were not among the top 10 after 54 holes. Art Wall Jr., the 1959 winner, rallied from T-13 after the third round.

54

Number of years since the Masters Tournament introduced the Par 3 Contest, which for the first time was cancelled because of rainWednesday at Augusta National Golf Club. Sam Snead, a three-time Masters champion, won the inaugural Par 3 Contest, in 1960.



CALENDAR
April 6-9
PGA Tour: Masters Tournament
Augusta (Ga.) National GC
April 7-9
Symetra Tour: Northern California Classic
Windsor (Calif.) GC
April 12-15
LPGA: Lotte Championship
Ko Olina GC, Kapolei, Hawaii
April 13-16
European Tour: Trophee Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
PGA Tour: RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
April 14-16
Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Classic
TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga.
April 19-22
Junior: Sage Valley Junior Invitational
Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville, S.C.
April 20-23
European Tour: Shenzhen International
Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China
Web.com Tour: United Leasing and Finance Championship
Victoria National GC, Newburgh, Ind.
PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
April 21-23
Champions Tour: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.
Symetra Tour: Sara Bay Classic
Sara Bay CC, Sarasota, Fla.
April 25-26
National Golf Day
Washington

      
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