The names at the top of the leaderboard may not be the ones anyone expected, but the 2014 Masters is in for a fantastic finish on Sunday.
Saturday, aka "moving day," more than lived up to that billing with 10 players moving to within three shots of each other. The biggest story of the third round, and leading into the fourth round, is 20-year-old Jordan Spieth being tied with Bubba Watson for the lead at five-under par.
Bubba Watson saves par at the 18th. He'll be in the final group with Jordan Spieth tomorrow. #Masters— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 12, 2014
This is Spieth's first Masters and just the second major he has made the cut as a professional. If he wins the green jacket on Sunday, the Texan would become the youngest winner at Augusta, surpassing Tiger Woods' record by about seven months.
Spieth certainly has his work cut out for him with seasoned veterans like Watson, Matt Kuchar and Miguel Angel Jimenez directly in his rearview mirror.
To get you prepared for all of Sunday's action from Augusta, here's a look at all the pairings and tee times, as well as a few predictions based on what we have seen in the first three rounds.
|Tee Time (ET)||Player 1 (Score, Position)||Player 2 (Score, Position|
|10:10 a.m.||Larry Mize (+9, T-50)||N/A|
|10:20 a.m.||Joost Luiten (+9, T-50)||Stephen Gallacher (+8, T-46)|
|10:30 a.m.||Brandt Snedeker (+8, T-46)||Mike Weir (+8, T-46)|
|10:40 a.m.||K.J. Choi (+7, T-42)||Sandy Lyle (+8, T-46)|
|10:50 a.m.||Francesco Molinari (+7, T-42)||Nick Watney (+7, T-42)|
|11 a.m.||Brendon de Jonge (+6, T-38)||Oliver Goss (+7, T-42)|
|11:10 a.m.||Thongchai Jaidee (+6, T-38)||Thorbjorn Olesen (+6, T-38)|
|11:20 a.m.||Lucas Glover (+5, T-34)||Billy Horschel (+6, T-38)|
|11:30 a.m.||Stewart Cink (+5, T-34)||Darren Clarke (+5, T-34)|
|11:50 a.m.||Vijay Singh (+4, T-29)||Jose Maria Olazabal (+5, T-34)|
|12 p.m.||Steven Bowditch (+4, T-29)||Hunter Mahan (+4, T-29)|
|12:10 p.m.||Martin Kaymer (+4, T-29)||Bill Haas (+4, T-29)|
|12:20 p.m.||Louis Oosthuizen (+3, T-24)||Jamie Donaldson (+3, T-24)|
|12:30 p.m.||Bernhard Langer (+3, T-24)||Henrik Stenson (+3, T-24)|
|12:40 p.m.||Jimmy Walker (+2, T-18)||Rory McIlroy (+3, T-24)|
|12:50 p.m.||Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (+2, T-18)||Russell Henley (+2, T-18)|
|1:00 p.m.||Chris Kirk (+2, T-18)||Steve Stricker (+2, T-18)|
|1:10 p.m.||Adam Scott (+1, T-16)||Jason Day (+2, T-18)|
|1:30 p.m.||Ian Poulter (E, T-14)||Kevin Streelman (+1, T-16)|
|1:40 p.m.||John Senden (-1, T-10)||Gary Woodland (E, T-14)|
|1:50 p.m.||Kevin Stadler (-1, T-10)||Fred Couples (-1, T-10)|
|2 p.m.||Thomas Bjorn (-2, T-7)||Justin Rose (-1, T-10)|
|2:10 p.m.||Lee Westwood (-2, T-7)||Jim Furyk (-2, T-7)|
|2:20 p.m.||Miguel Angel Jimenez (-3, T-5)||Rickie Fowler (-3, T-5)|
|2:30 p.m.||Matt Kuchar (-4, T-3)||Jonas Blixt (-4, T-3)|
|2:40 p.m.||Bubba Watson (-5, T-1)||Jordan Spieth (-5, T-1)|
Smart Prediction: Jordan Spieth won't win the Masters
The most remarkable thing about Spieth's performance so far is how consistent he has been. You look at other players near the top of the leaderboard, like Watson or Kuchar, and they have been all over the place with one round over par and another in the 68-69 range.
Spieth, on the other hand, has been floating along with two 70s and a 71 to enter Sunday at five-under par. There's something to be said about that level of consistency, but it makes you wonder if the young man can find a lower score when its necessary.
We've seen Watson, Kuchar, Jimenez and Rickie Fowler find that 67 or 68 this tournament. Spieth hasn't shown that he can get to that level, so if one of those players catches fire, it's going to be hard for the 20-year-old to keep pace.
It also doesn't help when there are people, such as fellow PGA Tour member J.J. Henry, declaring Spieth the new face of American golf.
If u don't know @JordanSpieth he's not only the future of American golf but even a better person mature beyond his yrs.Go get it Boy Wonder!— JJ Henry (@jjhenrygolf) April 12, 2014
Oh, you want the list of golfers to win a major before turning 21? ESPN Stats and Info has you covered. (Hint: It's not long and hasn't happened recently.)
Can Jordan Spieth add his name to this list tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/1dTvPDItpV— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 12, 2014
The story of Spieth winning would be unbelievable, and you can't help rooting for him, but that's a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of a 20-year-old at Augusta, where one bad hole can ruin everything.
Bold Prediction: The winner won't be in the final group
Who will win the 2014 Masters?
This doesn't seem like such a bold prediction when you realize that the last three Masters winners—Charl Schwartzel (2011), Watson (2012), Adam Scott (2013)—have all been outside the final pairing on Sunday.
However, it's also important to note that in the 20 years prior to 2011, the winner at Augusta had come from the final group 19 times, via ESPN Stats and Info.
This year has the same feel of 2011-13 because of the unknown entity that is Spieth, Watson's poor third round and how bunched together the rest of the field is. Taking away the co-leaders, there are 11 players under par, and seven of them are within three shots of the lead.
If you are looking for a dark horse on Sunday, Shane Bacon of Yahoo! Sports has the perfect scenario all lined up.
Fred Couples now sits four shots back of Bubba Watson. Who else was 4 back with one round to go? Jack, in ’86.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 12, 2014
Couples would certainly be a great story, though a 73 on Saturday really hurt his chances. If you believe in momentum. Kuchar, Jimenez and Fowler are the names to watch.
Whoever you are keeping a close eye on, though, don't look for the winner in Sunday's final pairing.
Predicted Winner: Matt Kuchar
Kuchar's progression in this year's Masters has been fun to watch. He started out with an uninspired 73 in the first round, came back with a solid 71 on Friday before catching fire with a 68 on Saturday.
There were some bumps on moving day, bogeys on 11 and 18, but it's hard to argue with six birdies, including three straight on 13, 14 and 15.
Depending on how cruel you think the golf gods are, Kuchar is either due for a big Sunday or a round closer to his first-round performance. Take a look at recent final-round efforts from the 35-year-old veteran, courtesy of ESPN's Justin Ray.
Can Matt Kuchar (1 back) snap his recent Sunday slide? Last 4 tournaments, he's -17 on Saturday and +6 in final round.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 12, 2014
You have to think at some point everything will come together for Kuchar, who has five career top-10 finishes in majors, including a third- and eighth-place finish at the Masters the last two years.
Sometimes a player hits his stride at just the right time. Kuchar certainly left an indelible impression on Saturday. Now he just has to do it one more time to get that elusive green jacket.
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