Masters 2012: Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Surprise in Final Round

Scott Semmler@@ScottSemmler22Analyst IIApril 8, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Hunter Mahan of the United States drives off the 18th tee 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

With five players within just four shots of the leader, Peter Hanson, it is sure to be a competitive Sunday at Augusta National.

With so many players at the top, it would not be unusual to see a player a few strokes behind put on a show in the final round and threaten the leader at some point. Although Hanson and Phil Mickelson look to be the players to beat, there are several consistent players looking to take advantage of poor play on Sunday so they can surge up the leader-board and contend on the back nine at Augusta.

Here are three players who have the games surprise on Sunday.

Hunter Mahan

No one is really talking about Mahan, even though he is the highest ranked American golfer in the world and is playing some of the best golf of any player on he PGA Tour right now.

Mahan will start five strokes behind the lead, but his game fits well into playing consistent golf, then striking at the very last moment. His swing is near perfection right now, and we should see that produce birdies on Sunday at Augusta while everyone else surely falters down the stretch.

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Swings like Mahan's do not falter down the stretch. We saw that on Sunday when he carded a four-under par 68 to get back into contention.

Look for him to make an early burst up the leader-board on Sunday afternoon.

Jason Dufner

Dufner did not have his best stuff on Saturday at Augusta, carding a three-over 75, but he is still one of the best golfers on the PGA Tour right now. We should not be surprised to see him rally on the back nine at The Masters on Sunday.

It all comes down to putting for Dufner. He had two three-putts in the third round, which caused him some turmoil and took away a lot of scoring opportunities. If he can putt like he did on Friday, around 1.5 putts per hole, he should be able to post another two-under or three-under round and hope the field comes back to him on Sunday.

Padraig Harrington

Harrington was another player who profited from a nice Saturday afternoon at Augusta National.

He carded a four-under par 68 and made a surge up the leaderboard on Saturday now tied for sixth after starting tied for 24th. He sits just five strokes behind the leader, Hanson.

Harrington had his putter rolling on Saturday, and if he can get it rolling again on Sunday, we should see him be able to contend on the back nine if given the opportunity.

He must get on the putting surface first, which was why a four-under par 68 in the third round was so impressive, since he hit just 10 greens. The key to his success would be to hit more greens, and the putts will fall from there.


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