Tour Championship 2013: Predicting How Top Stars Will Fare over Final Round
Mercifully for Tiger Woods, the 2013 Tour Championship will conclude on Sunday at East Lake in Atlanta.
The world's No. 1-ranked golfer shot his first birdie-less round in over three years in Thursday's opening round, per ESPN researcher Justin Ray, and collapsed a day later after recording not one, but two double bogeys over the final five holes of the second round.
Tiger Woods in 1,083 @PGATOUR rounds as a pro - 8 times (incl. today) he had 0 birdies. 28 times he's shot 63 or lower.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) September 19, 2013
Fortunately, some of the sport's other big names have fared much better than Woods through three rounds. Still, Henrik Stenson leads by four strokes overall heading into the final 18 holes of play.
Will he pickup his biggest win of the year or be chased down?
Here, I'll predict how Tiger Woods and golf's other superstars will fare over Sunday's final round.
Phil Mickelson, -2 (T-10th)
British Open champion Phil Mickelson was unable to carry the momentum he gained in Friday's second round over to Saturday, shooting par in the third round. Lefty now finds himself nine shots off the lead heading into the final round.
Barring a major collapse at the top from Henrik Stenson, Mickelson has very little chance of coming back and winning. But that doesn't mean he won't have an excellent round on Sunday. After all, Lefty finally figured out Nos. 4 and 5 on Saturday, parring both holes after bogeying both in the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.
If he can avoid trouble early on, he's shown in past rounds that there are birdies to be had on the back nine at East Lake. Mickelson will have great birdie chances on Nos. 6 and 12, two holes that he has birdied over the past two rounds.
Final Round Prediction: 67 (-3)
Adam Scott, -2 (T-10th)
Like Mickelson, reigning Masters champion Adam Scott finds himself well off the pace heading into Sunday's final round. But unlike Lefty, Scott is trending down heading into the final 18 holes.
After shooting a five-under 65 to start the tournament on Thursday, the Aussie has faded, following up a second-round 69 with a four-over 74 on Saturday. Although a birdie late on No. 17 helped Scott end the round on a positive note, it's unlikely that he'll be able to make up the ground he lost thanks to a dismal performance on the front nine.
While Scott is capable of going on a birdie streak like we saw in Round 1, his confidence has taken a major hit and he's obviously headed in the wrong direction.
He'll bounce back in Round 4, but it won't be anything worth writing home about.
Final Round Prediction: 71 (+1)
Tiger Woods, +3 (T-26th)
Which of these stars will have the best round on Sunday?
It's fair to say that Tiger Woods has been all over the place at East Lake this weekend. He went birdie-less in the first round and then shot five-under through 13 holes in Round 2, only to record two double bogeys over the final five holes and finish one-under for the round.
Despite shooting under par for the first time in the tournament on Saturday, Woods is still 14 shots off the pace and is a non-threat to contend on Sunday.
Therefore, look for Tiger to fly under the radar on Sunday with another mediocre round. He's been wildly inconsistent through the first 54 holes, and he's almost certain to follow up any solid performance with a head-scratching one on the next hole.
Final Round Prediction: 70 (Even)
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