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Scheffler holds 1-shot lead over charging Morikawa

Warren Little / Getty Images Sport / Getty

He was the massive favorite entering the week, and it remains that way heading into Sunday at the Masters.

A birdie on his final hole of Round 3 will see Scottie Scheffler take a one-shot lead to the final round as he eyes a second career Masters victory.

The clutch finish by Scheffler was enough to hold a narrow edge over a charging Collin Morikawa after the two-time major winner was one of just two players to fire a round in the 60s on Saturday. The 36-hole co-leader, Max Homa, is alone in third, while Masters rookie Ludvig Aberg is three shots off the pace at 4-under.

Place Player Total to par Round 3 score
1 Scottie Scheffler -7 71
2 Collin Morikawa -6 69
3 Max Homa -5 73
4 Ludvig Aberg -4 70
5 Bryson DeChambeau -3 75
T-6 Xander Schauffele -2 70
T-6 Cam Davis -2 73
T-6 Nicolai Hojgaard -2 74
T-9 Byeong Hun An -1 72
T-9 Cameron Smith -1 72
T-9 Cameron Young -1 72
T-9 Tommy Fleetwood -1 72

Scheffler took exactly three shots to extricate himself from a tie for the lead entering the day, with a chip-in birdie on the first hole sending him one clear. It was a very comfortable opening nine before he finally showed he was human - briefly - with a shocking double-bogey on the 10th hole. A follow-up bogey on the 11th marked the end of an outrageous run of proficiency for the World No. 1.

The rest of the field hopefully enjoyed the time where Scheffler's grip on the tournament was slightly loosened, as the 2022 champion immediately made amends with the only eagle of the day on the par-5 13th. Another birdie on the 15th sent him to the final hole tied with Morikawa at the top. Scheffler stuffed his approach inside 10 feet and made the putt to head to Sunday in front.

Morikawa trails by one but finds himself alongside Scheffler in the final group. The two-time major winner was one of only two players who fired under-par rounds on both Thursday and Friday despite making a putter change between the sessions.

He announced his intentions early on Saturday, birdieing the opening three holes in a blitz that saw him get to 6-under. Steady play the rest of the way saw him finish at that number. It's the latest example of Morikawa being a perfect fit for Augusta, as he's now been inside the top 10 after 54 holes in three straight Masters. He'll take plenty of that confidence into the final round.

"Scottie is the No. 1 player in the world for a reason, and what he's done over the past few years is incredible," Morikawa said, according to ASAP Sports. "But at the end of the day, it doesn't scare me. I still know that at my best and at what I truly believe I can do. I saw a little glimpse of that early on today. And just didn't hit the shots I needed to. Didn't really make the putts on the back nine, or else I would be even with him or one up."

Homa hit the ball brilliantly on Saturday, but the 36-hole co-leader could not get anything to drop on the greens. That resulted with a scorecard that was incredibly consistent, yet unspectacular, with 17 pars and a bogey at the end of the day. If his ball-striking remains at the same level, he's more than ripe for a charge to the top with improved putting.

It will be the electric Aberg in the penultimate group with Homa after the 24-year-old Swede broke par for the second straight day. Not only is the Ryder Cup standout making his Masters debut, but it's also the first major championship appearance for a man who was playing collegiately with Texas Tech at this time last year. He's attempting to become the first Masters rookie since 1979 to win the green jacket.

The two other stories of the day centered around second-round co-leader Bryson DeChambeau and Tiger Woods. DeChambeau found himself in the final group with Homa but struggled on the second nine with three bogeys and a double down the stretch. However, the 30-year-old ended his day with a bang, holing a 77-yard wedge on the final hole to leave him four back of the lead.

Woods had a day to forget just 24 hours after he set the Masters record with his 24th straight made cut in the event. The 48-year-old battled his physical condition from the opening tee shot and struggled to a career-worst 82 at Augusta. That saw him plummet from 22nd place to 52nd.

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