Several big names in the Masters field have started their third round, armed with dreams of a monumental comeback to join Jason Day at the leaderboard’s peak.
They will have two rounds to make a run and a few of the tournament’s cellar dwellers have done just that.
Tim Clark, in particular, has delivered an impressive front nine to break through the field. Meanwhile, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tianlang Guan are still over par, but all hope isn’t lost yet.
Let’s take an extended look into the third round’s notable players at Augusta at this point.
The South African has been on fire through nine holes, shooting a scalding-hot five under, and entered the top ten. From holes No. 4 to No. 7, Clark birdied four straight.
Clark is providing a familiar trend at the Masters: a South African player flying up the leaderboard at Augusta. Only three Masters prior it was fellow South African Charl Schwartzel making birdie after birdie en route to a green jacket.
This isn’t Clark's first time at the top of the leaderboard either; he finished second at Augusta in 2006.
If Clark’s third-round showing is any indication, he will be jostling with the leaders from here on out.
Any positive plays from here on out would be an added bonus for Guan, who became the youngest golfer in Masters history to make the cut.
The 14-year-old phenom has impressed once again with several par makes despite his constraints off the tee.
That’s what makes Guan’s triumph this weekend so memorable: he averages a mere 261 yards on his drives. At a course like Augusta in which long-ball hitting provides a significant advantage, Guan has thwarted those restrictions by playing clean golf and sinking many difficult putts on the way.
Guan has racked up seven pars through his third-round front nine, with many more to come before the weekend is over.
No one thus far has had a more volatile third-round showing than Watson.
The Masters’ defending champion came out blistering hot with two birdies to start the round, at one point threatening the leaderboard’s top 25.
He followed that with some struggles coming out on the back nine, including a painful double bogey on No. 11 and falling back to three over par.
But Watson was resilient as ever, scoring consecutive birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. He is putting himself in strong position for a potential final-round run.
The defending champ was granted second life by squeaking by the cut line on Saturday and he’s now seizing that opportunity on “Moving Day.”
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report.
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