Masters Field 2013: Golfers to Watch on Day 3
Jason Day has the 36-hole lead by himself after a four-under 68 on Friday at the Masters.
At six under, Day leads the ageless Fred Couples and dark-horse challenger Marc Leishman by one shot heading into the weekend.
Saturday is traditionally considered "moving day."
The course will be set up for players to be aggressive in scoring chances, giving them the opportunity to climb back into contention for Sunday's climatic final round.
In order of importance, here are 10 players to keep an eye on and what they have to do in the chase for the coveted green jacket.
10. Sergio Garcia
Tee Time: 1:35 p.m. ET (paired with Bernhard Langer)
Why You Must Watch: Friday's four-over 76 not withstanding, Sergio Garcia is still in this championship. Sergio fought himself during the round. If he can keep the demons in check, he could have a career-changing day.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: He must forget about Friday and go back to the game that earned him a share of the lead Thursday. There will be birdie chances, and he has to sink his fair share. He does not need to make up all the ground he lost, as anything under par will keep him in the hunt.
Saturday Prediction: He battles himself early but shoots a 70 and will have an outside chance Sunday.
9. Jason Dufner
Tee Time: 2:15 p.m. ET (paired with Adam Scott)
Why You Must Watch: Jason Dufner's demeanor never changes regardless of his position. He improved on his opening-round even-par 72 with a 69 on Friday. On a day where the average score jumped a shot-and-a-half, he bettered his score by three. Dufner is headed the right way going into the weekend.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: If he matches either of his first two rounds, he will be in good shape. If he can take what he did Friday and build on it, he could be in the lead by the time Saturday finishes. He will not beat himself, and that is essential.
Saturday Prediction: He shoots a one-under 71 and stays in the mix heading into Sunday.
8. Marc Leishman
Tee Time: 2:35 p.m. ET (paired with Angel Cabrera)
Why You Must Watch: After a wobbly one-over 73 on Friday, Leishman has survived the nerves and is tied for second at a stroke behind. A relatively unknown player here in the U.S., Leishman will have a night to collect his thoughts. This is his chance; how he handles it is the story.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: He has to stay within himself. Par would be a great score for Leishman. If he can get out early under par, he could certainly stake his claim to the green jacket.
Saturday Prediction: He has a level head and shoots another 73, winding up in a good pairing Sunday away from the spotlight.
7. Angel Cabrera
Tee Time: 2:35 p.m. ET (paired with Marc Leishman)
Why You Must Watch: The two-time major champion has played himself into contention. A three-under 69 on Friday puts the fun-loving Argentinian within a whisper of his second Masters with the weekend left. His on-course demeanor makes the breezy Fred Couples look uptight. Cabrera is going to have fun.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: With a Masters and a U.S. Open title under his belt, he already knows the game plan. He's not the riverboat gambler Phil Mickelson is, but he still will be aggressive. More importantly, the pressure of the situation is not going to bother him. A 70 could put Cabrera in that last group.
Saturday Prediction: On his game, he fires a three-under 69 and earns a spot in the final group.
6. Fred Couples
Tee Time: 2:45 p.m. ET (paired with Jason Day)
Why You Must Watch: Couples has turned back the hands of time and played himself into the last group. You will hear all weekend about how much experience contributes to being successful at Augusta. After 36 holes, Couples is the prime example. He is impossible to root against.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: Like Friday, he needs to conserve what he can and stay around par. Unlike others in the chase, Couples has to make sure he has enough left in the tank to go all in on Sunday. Anything under par will be a huge bonus.
Saturday Prediction: He knows what he has to do. He shoots a 70 and has a serious chance at a green jacket at 53.
5. Phil Mickelson
Tee Time: 10:25 a.m. ET (paired with Nick Watney)
Why You Must Watch: If there is anyone who can come back from nine behind with two rounds to go, it is him. On a day where the course will reward aggressive play, Mickelson is the maestro. The round may not go according to script, but it certainly will not be dull.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: Mickelson knows that he does not need to gain all the shots back, but he really needs to be under par by sunset Saturday to have a chance Sunday. He must attack all four par fives and set himself up for more manageable putts for par on the others.
Saturday Prediction: He shoots a 67 and lurks. He would still need to go low Sunday, but momentum would be in his favor.
4. Rory McIlroy
Tee Time: 1:25 p.m. ET (paired with Charl Schwartzel)
Why You Must Watch: Rory McIlroy's two-under 70 puts him right back into this race. When pressed with the challenge of coming off a mediocre round, he responded. Now, Rory can take Friday's positive play and build on it.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: McIlroy needs to play his game. He needs to hit greens and make putts. It is a day where he can be aggressive and score. There's no reason to think he cannot make a jump up the board.
Saturday Prediction: He shoots a 68 and plays himself right back in it.
3. Tiger Woods
Tee Time: 1:45 p.m. ET (paired with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano)
UPDATE: Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. ET by Paul Mueller
Tiger's road to his fifth green jacket just got a little tougher, as early Saturday morning, Augusta officials determined that he took an illegal drop on hole No. 15 Friday. He was penalized two strokes, dropping him from three-under par to one-under par. He's now five strokes off the leader, Jason Day.
---End of Update---
Why You Must Watch: After grabbing a share of the lead on the second nine, Tiger Woods had an unlucky bounce after his third shot on 15 hit the pin and spun back into the water. After making a bogey, he did not bounce back. The progress of Tiger's new game will be measured by how he responds.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: He needs to shoot under par on the second nine for the first time in eight rounds. He has to birdie 13 and 15 and forget about Friday. Woods could have delivered a knockout punch, but he faltered instead. How he handles that will speak volumes.
Saturday Prediction: He starts strong and shoots even par on the back. A 69 for Tiger, and a Sunday to remember.
2. Jason Day
Tee Time: 2:45 p.m. ET (paired with Fred Couples)
Why You Must Watch: Day has two runner-up finishes in majors already in his young career, including right here at Augusta two years ago. The big stage will not scare him, and he will be paired with the perpetually relaxed Fred Couples on Saturday. Day could wrap this up with a great round.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: He needs to forget where he is on the leaderboard and just play his game. He understands the course and is responding. The goal is par, with anything better a bonus going into Sunday.
Saturday Prediction: He shoots a nice, boring 71 and earns the last tee time Sunday.
1. Tianlang Guan
Tee Time: 9:55 a.m. ET (paired with Thorbjorn Olesen)
Why You Must Watch: Tianlang Guan is the youngest male ever to make the cut at a major championship. At 14, he has already won the low-amateur medal. Now, he gets a full weekend to gain invaluable experience.
What He Has to Do on Moving Day: If this were a Disney movie, he would shoot a 68 on Saturday to get back to even and take his chances Sunday. Realistically, he needs to shake off Friday's penalty for slow play and match his one-over 73 from Thursday.
Saturday Prediction: He shoots in the mid-70s and learns a ton.
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