With three rounds all but wrapped up at Augusta, one of Saturday’s biggest stories was the play of Hunter Mahan. A terrific four-under round has Mahan all the way up to a tie for sixth on the leaderboard, five shots off the pace.
While Mahan looks like a legitimate green-jacket contender, many of Saturday’s other impressive performances came from players who won’t be able to sustain their high level of play in the final round.
Among those who shared the honor of Saturday’s lowest round was a golfer with just three PGA Tour wins. Snedeker shot a remarkable four-under 68, but even with that outstanding effort he’s only at minus-one for the tournament.
Snedeker has made strong showings at Augusta before, finishing third in 2008—but after a second-round 75, it’s hard to believe his performance this afternoon was the real deal. Look for Snedeker (already five shots off the lead) to fall even further behind by the time the tourney ends.
The good news for Simpson is that he shot an enviable minus-two round on Saturday. The bad news is that he’s still only sitting at even par, and he’s not likely to improve on that in the final round.
Simpson followed up an opening-round 72 with a disappointing 74 on Friday, and it wouldn’t be any surprise to see him regress to those kinds of numbers tomorrow. Look for the fourth-year pro (playing in his first Masters) to fall back into the plus-one or plus-two range to close out the tournament.
Like Simpson, Stallings bounced back from a poor showing on Friday to shoot a strong 70 in the third round. Unfortunately for Stallings, he had even more ground to make up.
The dreadful 77 he shot in the second round made sure Stallings wouldn’t be a contender, but it also makes him a poor bet to keep up his momentum on Sunday. Another first-time competitor at Augusta, he won’t be finishing under par this year.