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Masters 2013: Competitors Who Will Challenge the Leaders Through Final Round

Apr 11, 2013; Augusta, GA, USA; Rickie Fowler waves to the gallery after making a putt on the 18th green and completing the first round of the 2013 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.  Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
John RozumCorrespondent IApril 14, 2013

The last round of the 2013 Masters has teed off and the biggest names in golf such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are not atop the leaderboard.

And here's a quick glimpse courtesy of PGA.com.

That said, there are a few other dangerous competitors to keep an eye on when their tee time rolls around. Given the even landscape of the playing field based on results, don't be surprised when the following make a run for the top.

 

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar enters the final round of play at minus-four and is coming off a strong Round 3. There, he hit a 69 after a frustrating 75 to get back into contention.

The key here is to exchange a few pars for birdies. Kuchar has not double-bogeyed thus far in the tournament and saw just two bogeys in the previous round (Holes 11 and 14). Interestingly enough, he managed to par White Dogwood in Round 1, but also bogeyed it in Round 2. Clearly the 11th is one of Kuchar's tougher tests to this point.

As for Chinese Fir, he birdied it to start the Masters but hit par and then a bogey thereafter. Obviously rewinding back to his initial performance at No. 14 is required.

Two others that have given him trouble are Nos. 4 and 16. On the bright side, Kuchar managed to par each in the last round: Was plus-one on each of them in the first two opportunities.

Elsewhere he has been rather consistent, and creating separation in favor of his birdies from number of pars this round will put Kuchar in strong position to win.

 

Tim Clark

Tim Clark sits at minus-three leading into the last round of play, tied with Woods but is coming off a much better outing in Round 3.

Knocking 67 strokes to remain in decent position for a chance to win, Clark made a strong turnaround from the second set of 18. In Round 2 he bogeyed six holes and finished with a mark of 76. He then flipped the switch and cut back to a mere two bogeys, although they occurred within the final five holes (Nos. 14 and 18).

Managing to one up himself by reaching par on each of those, as well as encoring the production through the first 13 will take Clark to the top: He was minus-four in the third round excluding 14 through 18.

For the tournament Clark has also scored 15 birdies to keep him in the running. Building on that confidence as Round 4 progresses and Clark will find himself challenging the top pedestal.


Rickie Fowler

Although Rickie Fowler is just minus-two prior to the final round, the window of opportunity does exist.

He's also been through one crazy tournament that has featured one triple-bogey, two double-bogeys, nine birdies and two eagles. In short, Fowler's roller coaster of a competition makes him a wild card entering Sunday's action.

This is a guy where anything can happen, because only one bogey happened in Round 3 along with his second eagle—no double-bogeys. Consistency was established in the previous round and Fowler's capabilities will threaten as evidence of stroking from one extreme (eagles) to a polarizing opposite (double-bogeys).

The leaders will have additional pressure put on when he starts feeling that rhythm as well. We caught a snapshot of it in Round 3, so expect Fowler to enhance his vision and focus to connect even better throughout the duration of Round 4.

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