The third-round action at the Masters has only made the leaderboard more cluttered at the top.
As the leaders began to break onto the course, some of the players farther down the leaderboard have risen up the ranks. Defending champion Bubba Watson, most notably, made good on just making the cut with his first round under par.
Meanwhile, some of the top names fell into the cellar, but more on that later. For now, let’s rank the top storylines from the early-round action.
Tim Clark and Nick Watney Play Into Contention
Both Clark and Watney were considered afterthoughts headed into the weekend, only to post their highest rounds thus far on Saturday.
Clark roared up the leaderboard by virtue of five birdies on the front nine, finishing at three-under.
Watney was far off the contenders going into the round with a distant four-over par for the tournament. He would have something to say before his day ended, though, with a five-under showing.
Both golfers dropped a stroke on the round’s final hole, but regardless, they each have a chance to make noise on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley Struggle
Both members of the United States’ dream team at the Ryder Cup fell all the way to the leaderboard cellar on Saturday.
Mickelson double-bogeyed two straight holes to start the back nine and dropped to third-to-last in the standings. Bradley one-upped Mickelson, though, finishing with a tournament-low 11-over.
Even 14-year-old Tianlang Guan finished with a higher overall score than Bradley in what as a nightmarish day for the former major winner.
A Swarm of Contenders Yet to Hit Amen Corner
At this moment, 12 golfers are within three strokes of the lead. Of those 12, almost all have finished in the top five in a major or won one before.
Of the former Masters winners, Fred Couples and Angel Cabrera still lurk around the top. That winning experience should prove critical down the stretch.
Meanwhile, most of the top-ranked golfers are currently within range. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Tiger Woods still have a fighter's chance on Saturday.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report.
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