The 2014 Masters became a lot more interesting ahead of the third round, as a number of prolific golfers missed the cut and a few narrowly sneaked by to keep their slim chances of nabbing a green jacket alive.
With notable stars like Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner out of the picture, we're getting a clearer image of who might emerge as champion at Augusta National.
Let's take a look at the live scores in Georgia, plus check out some bold predictions on how the rest of the tourney will shake out.
Predicted Winner: Adam Scott
Adam Scott may not have capitalized on an opportunity to climb the leaderboard on Friday, but the defending champion is still in striking distance and could make his move in the third round.
The 33-year-old is stalking just a bit off the lead at three-under par ahead of his 2:25 p.m. ET tee time. He will be paired with young gun Jordan Spieth, and the pair will do their best to work their way up the standings before Sunday’s championship round.
There shouldn’t be too much concern about the Aussie star’s inability to grab a clubhouse lead during this event, as ESPN Stats & Info noted that Scott has never led after a round at the Masters—notably needing a tiebreak to best Angel Cabrera for the title last year:
Adam Scott has never held a lead after any round at the Masters. But he does have one Masters win -- last year.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 11, 2014
Bubba Watson, the clubhouse leader after Round 2, will be tough to catch with a four-stroke advantage over Scott. However, the Australian champion not only has the skill to make up the lost ground but also the mental fortitude to accomplish that feat in 18 holes or less.
He proved that on Friday, shaking off a rough start to sink three birdies on the back nine and draw even on the day. He explained the methodology used to right the ship in the midst of play to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi (as per Kyle Porter of CBS Sports): "Patience came into it on the back nine. I just tried to remember all the good shots I hit yesterday and had to execute and managed to make something happen to move back into the red numbers."
Will Scott win this tournament?
Given that championships are not only won out on the course but between the ears, it appears that Scott is in a good place right now. He just needs to continue playing smart, aggressive golf, and great things will happen for the current green-jacket holder.
Scott’s Day 3 showing should set up an epic finish to this tournament. Ultimately the winner will be the one who makes the least amount of mistakes down the stretch, and Scott has an edge over the rest of the contenders in that department.