Masters round 3 notebook More from Augusta National
Scott’s putter fails him: Adam Scott lost his touch on the treacherous greens at Augusta National.
Scott came up short with his long putter on Saturday, three-putting twice in the first four holes and tumbled down the leaderboard at the Masters.
Scott needed 35 putts to get through the third round and finished with a 4-over 76 that left him 1 over for the tournament. He is six strokes behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson heading into the final round.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Scott said. “There are a lot of people between me and the leaders. But if I can play a good front nine, anything can happen on the back, and it would be fun to post a number and sit in the clubhouse and watch.”
The defending Masters champion is trying to become the fourth to don consecutive green jackets. Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02) accomplished the feat.
By the time Scott teed off in the third round, the Augusta greens were getting harder and faster by the minute. Scott handled them with relative ease last year and again in the first two rounds this time around.
But they got to him Saturday.
He three-putted the par-4 first and did the same at par-3 fourth. Throw in two putts everywhere else through seven holes, and Scott’s anchored putter failed him. He shot a 4-over 40 on the front nine.
“I just kind of compounded my mistakes early with a couple three-putts and got me off on the wrong foot,” said Scott, whose anchored putting technique will be banned beginning in 2016. “And with conditions being so hard when you’re on the back foot, this is a very hard course to pull shots in. Even with opportunities at 13 and 15, I didn’t manage to do it. And I just fought really hard but I couldn’t get any of those early shots back.
“I’m disappointed, but a good round tomorrow could go a long, long way.”
Saturday success: Fred Couples figured out the third round of the Masters a bit better than he has in recent years. Now he’s holding out hope that the final round could yield something spectacular.
Couples goes into final round four shots off the lead and a long shot by anyone’s estimation at the age of 54. But the 1992 winner will be playing late on Sunday, a time when strange things can happen.
“I’m playing pretty good golf and I have a shot tomorrow of shooting some silly round to maybe win, but it’s going to take a 65 or 66,” Couples said. “But you never know.”
Couples has been in contention going into the weekend several times in recent years, only to fade in the third round. But his 1-over 73 on Saturday was an improvement over his last two Masters, when he shot 75 and 77 to drop from the leaderboard.
“My average went down,” he said. “I’m not smart enough to know what 75, 77 and 73 is, but it wasn’t bad. I actually played OK.”