Masters Leaderboard 2012: 5 Moments That Shaped This Year's Tournament
The 2012 Masters tournament has been nothing short of spectacular.
While many of the world's top golfers have slipped seemingly out of contention for this year's green jacket, some familiar faces are atop the leaderboard and approximately 20 golfers are still in contention to win the year's first major heading into Sunday's finale.
While Phil Mickelson makes a surge Saturday to be in the final pairing Sunday, top golfer Rory McIlroy collapsed out of contention with a five-over-par 77 score for the day. Unlikely leader Peter Hanson is ahead of the pack with a nine-under score, just one stroke ahead of Mickelson.
Tiger Woods is out of contention, but so what if the tournament's biggest storyline is an afterthought? One more afternoon of brilliant golf with the best players in the world on the world's most beautiful course still awaits us.
In no particular order, let's take a look at the defining moments so far at Augusta National.
Peter Hanson's birdie on 18 - Saturday
What a Moving Day for Peter Hanson.
Shooting seven-under 65 for the day, Hanson birdied five of his last seven holes on the way to an outright lead heading into Sunday's final action.
After a mercilessly brilliant tee shot, Hanson came just a foot from hitting the pin from the fairway. You can see him mutter to himself "all the way" as he knows his shot could drop for an eagle.
The crowd might not have roared like it did for Mickelson many times, but Hanson had the most brilliant day on the course Saturday, and that is why he's the last to tee off Sunday.
I think the No. 25 golfer in the world will take the birdie and his lead heading into Sunday.
Phil Mickelson's eagle putt on 13 - Saturday
Mickelson needed a brilliant performance to stay in the hunt with the many 60s coming out, and that's just what he did.
After parring the front nine, he blistered out to a six-under score on the back nine for a total score of eight under par.
Mickelson birdied the par-five 13th hole each of his first two rounds, but this one's set up to be even more special. After cheering on his shot from the fairway with a "Go! Go! Go!" he was given a chance to bury a 25-foot eagle and make the Augusta crowd roar.
That's just what he did, and now he's in major contention for his fourth green jacket.
Tiger Woods' back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18 - Thursday
At the time, this just seemed like a minor setback in what would be a great final three rounds for Tiger. It ended up being the springboard to a huge letdown.
Woods had a chance to finish the opening round with a two-under 70, right in the thick of things and near the top of the leaderboard. He instead finished with an even par.
What really did him in was his inconsistent tee shots and frustration coming out, but a strong finish to Thursday could have gave him momentum for a brilliant Friday. Instead, he came out to shoot a 75 and knock himself out of contention.
Rory McIlroy's front-nine - Saturday
This was such a defining moment that it had to be separated into a full nine holes.
McIlroy was near the top of the leaderboard after Friday and seemed ready to move into the lead on Moving Day, but he in turn shot all over the place and could not keep his consistency alive.
He double bogeyed two holes on the front nine, shooting a 42. He finished with a 77, eliminating his chances for the Northern Ireland star's second major.
At least he didn't wait until Sunday to choke this time.
Lee Westwood's double bogey on 18 - Friday
Westwood was in the driver's seat for nearly all of Thursday and Friday, but his second-round finish gashed his scorecard and he's still trying to recover from it.
He had the chance to take the outright lead into the clubhouse Friday afternoon before missing some easy putts on 18 for a double bogey.
Westwood still is tied for sixth place heading into Sunday and has a great shot to win his first major, but that double bogey to end Friday will hurt him moving forward in this final-round action.
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