Masters 2012 Leaderboard: Matt Kuchar and Americans in Contention

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Matt Kuchar of the United States hits a shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

American golf fans who may be a bit let down by Tiger Woods' performance through three rounds have other options. He isn't the only American golfer in action, he's just the most famous and compelling. 

As of this moment, the following Americans are in the hunt:

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar: Tied for Lead at Six-Under

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Phil Mickelson of the United States hits a shot from the first tee during the third round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Lefty is through 13 holes and Kuchar is through 11, but both are playing great. Mickelson is especially surging, with two birdies and an eagle in his last four holes.

If he finishes the day playing this way, he'll be tough to catch on Sunday. It's realistic to speculate that he could improve on the 68 he shot on Friday. If he does, it'll probably be his event to lose.

Slow and steady wins the race, and Kuchar has been just that. He shot a 71 on Thursday, a 70 on Friday and he's on pace to shoot in the high 60s on Saturday.

If he can remain consistent, he'll be in the hunt until the end—but the pressure may be too much for the 35th-ranked player on the tour.

Three at Four-Under Par

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At this moment, four American golfers are tied for fifth at four-under par. 

Jason Dufner is here, but trending downward. He is through eight shots, but he has already bogeyed two holes on the front nine. It isn't looking good for him.

Hunter Mahan shot four-under and is done for the day. He had a solid day, and unless Mickelson and/or Kuchar go nuts to end the day, Mahan should be in position on Sunday.

Sean O'Hair is closing his day after putting together a nice run of four birdies over a nine-hole stretch. He still has the very worrisome 18th hole remaining. He bogeyed it on Friday, so we'll see what he does there today.

No Tiger in contention means the tournament isn't as commercially sexy, but there are still some very good examples of world class at Augusta.

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