Masters 2012 Leaderboard: Dark Horses Who Will Make a Sunday Run

Thad Novak@@ThadNovakCorrespondent IApril 8, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Henrik Stenson of Sweden hits a shot on the first hole during the third round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

After Peter Hanson's commanding Saturday performance, leaping to the top of the leaderboard at nine under for the tournament, anyone who hopes to come from behind to earn a green jacket today will have his work cut out for him. Nevertheless, some very dangerous competitors are lurking just a few strokes off the pace.

This trio has a very good chance of climbing into championship contention in today’s final round:


Henrik Stenson

Part of the four-way logjam at four under par, Stenson is one of only three golfers to finish under par in all three rounds so far. That consistency will serve him well in a tournament in which the lead has changed hands every round so far.

Stenson has played primarily in Europe, but he does have five career top-10 finishes in major-championship play. If he turns in another solid round and today's leaders struggle as badly as yesterdays did, Stenson could find himself in a position to win it all.


Padraig Harrington

After missing the cut in two straight Masters appearances, Harrington has gotten back on track this weekend. A hard-fought 68 in yesterday’s action has him five shots off the lead heading into Sunday.

Although Harrington’s never won at Augusta, he’s got three major titles to his name and isn’t going to crumble under pressure. Another round comparable to yesterday’s could be enough to earn Harrington a green jacket.


Fred Couples

After a brilliant start, Couples imploded yesterday with a three-over 75. The erstwhile co-leader is now seven shots off the pace, but it might still be too early to count him out.

After all, current leader Hanson gained 10 strokes on Couples in the third round alone. For Couples to make a similar charge and become the oldest man to win a major is obviously unlikely, but it's hardly impossible.