The 2014 Masters appears to be right on track for an immensely intriguing ending, especially now that the third round is well underway.
A handful of true contenders have started to break away from the rest of the pack, and that divide should only grow after 18 holes Saturday. With only 51 green jacket hopefuls remaining after the cut, it isn’t as tough to project who will be in the running during Sunday’s championship round.
Let’s take a look at the updated scoreboard from Augusta National and predict how the rest of this tournament might play out.
Adam Scott On Verge of Becoming Back-to-Back Masters Champion
Adam Scott may not have the lead—or even a share of it—ahead of his third-round tee time at 2:25 p.m. ET, but the defending champion is sitting pretty in regards to his chances of winning this tournament.
The Australian is currently three under par and four strokes behind clubhouse leader Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, who is on his own quest to reclaim the green jacket. However, Scott is familiar with these types of situations.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the 33-year-old has never held the lead after a full round at Augusta, needing to break a tie with Angel Cabrera after 72 holes to claim victory 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
That interesting factoid won’t stop Scott from attempting to ascend the leaderboard and make a run at Watson and the rest of the players ahead of him before Saturday’s action concludes.
He understands that the third round is a critical one that could make or break his chances at a back-to-back title, something he spoke with reporters about Friday night, per Kyle Porter of CBS Sports: "Tomorrow's a big day for everyone. I'd like to close that gap to feel like I'm starting Sunday with a great chance."
The bookmakers clearly agree that Scott is right in the hunt at Augusta, as the odds TSN Radio tweeted out have only Watson as a more probable winner and only by a slight margin:
Who will win the 2014 Masters?
It would be surprising if the battle for the green jacket did not come down to these former champions. While Watson clearly had the better second round—hitting nine birdies on the day—it will be difficult for the Florida native to maintain that production over the weekend.
Scott’s consistency and championship mentality will allow him to slowly gain ground. If he can avoid making any crippling mistakes over the next 48 hours, he should not run into issues on his trek back to becoming a titlist at Augusta National.