Masters 2012: 5 Bold Predictions for Day 3
A major tournament's Saturday, aka "Moving Day," will always have surprises, from a contender falling out of contention to an unknown joining the final pairing.
Many would like to believe Tiger Woods recovers from his 72 and 75 to get back into contention.
However, I don't see it.
That is my honorable mention for a bold prediction, that the former No. 1 golfer will shoot over par again Saturday and drop out of contention.
Here are the top five bold predictions for moving day, one that doesn't involve Woods.
5) Angel Cabrera Will Shoot the Low Round of the Day
Angel Cabrera, aka El Pato, "ducked" around Friday to shoot a six-over-par 78.
Cabrera had nine bogeys and two double bogeys in the Masters' first half (most combined for those who made cut), while converting nine birdies total (tied 10th).
The 2009 Masters champion played like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so far, but the guy who made six birdies will show up Saturday.
Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, shot a tournament-best 67 Friday, and Cabrera will one-up a fellow green jacket winner when he tees off early Saturday morning.
El Pato, aka The Duck, won't waddle back to contention but post the best score on moving day.
4) Martin Kaymer Will Move into Top 10
This may be the boldest prediction yet, but Martin Kaymer, who made the cut for the first time in five attempts, will surprise many on moving day.
Kaymer, a former world's No. 1 player, has hit 26 of 36 greens in regulation (72.22 percent) and 24 of 28 fairways (85.71 percent) this week.
But his 1.75 putts per hole has led to costly three putts and failed up-and-downs that killed any momentum.
However, his 36.0 holes per eagle statistic—making birdies or better 25 percent of the time on par 4s and overall birdie or better conversion rate at 40 percent—leads the PGA Tour.
His .480 strokes gained in putting (29th) isn't too shabby, either.
Kaymer, at three over par, will probably need a 67 or better to move into the top 10. We'll see if Kaymer can finally translates his stellar short game at Augusta National on moving day.
3) Aaron Baddeley Will Be in Final Group
Aaron Baddeley leads the Australian contenders at the 2012 Masters with back-to-back 71s.
The Aussie had a triple bogey on the par 4 fifth Friday—the difference between Baddeley tied with Fred Couples and Jason Dufner at five under par.
Like Angel Cabrera, Baddeley has been inconsistent, but I believe he will shoot in the 60s and tee off in the final group Sunday.
Baddeley is fifth on the PGA Tour with .755 in strokes gained in putting this year. (To see more info about this statistic, click here.) His 82.1 for total putting statistic ranks him fourth on the tour, too.
Baddeley is four-under par for his last 11 at Augusta National Golf Club. I see that as a trend rather than a fad.
2) Lee Westwood Will Shoot 73 or Higher
Lee Westwood has won everything but a major.
However, the Englishman will have to wait until the U.S. Open for his next attempt to win one.
Westwood shot a five-under-par 67 Thursday to lead the Masters and maintained his lead with 10 straight pars Friday.
Westwood has also hit 30 of 36 greens in regulation and 21 of 28 fairways hit this week. Not only that, he drives the ball further than the 276.39 yards-per-drive average at the Masters (287.25).
But he averages 1.81 putts per green, one of the worst among the 63 players who made the cut. In 2012, Westwood is -.307 in strokes gained in putting on the Tour (135th).
At Augusta National, that will lead to disaster sooner or later—especially since Westwood, the tour's best ball striker statistically, has shot incredibly well even for himself.
1) Fred Couples Will Extend His Lead to Two Shots
The 52-year-old Fred Couples surprised many by posting a five-under-par 67 Friday to lead the Masters.
Though this bold predication may have more to do with me predicting Couples would be in contention earlier in the week, I believe Couples continues his streak and play in the final group Sunday with Aaron Baddeley.
Couples is one-under par on par 3s and four-under par on par 5s. He hit 23 of 36 greens in regulation (63.9 percent) and had 1.53 putts per green.
He has stayed out of bunkers, hit 75 percent of fairways and is five under par for his last 12.
Couples with the early tee time Friday and late tee time Saturday will have plenty of time to rest his back. A healthy Couples, who still lives up to his nickname "Boom Boom" with big drives, will continue his hot play.
Another, fun fact is 63 players made it into the weekend. Last time that happened, Couples won his first and only green jacket.
** Note: I will be live blogging Saturday and Sunday on Bleacher Report. Tweet at @sHecKii to have a chance to be featured in the coverage. **