Ah yes! “Moving Day” at The Masters. It’s a day where either the cream rises to the top, or contenders can quickly turn into pretenders. Especially, under the pressure and litmus test of The Masters. So, here we go with some of my Hot Takes from the third round of the 2020 Masters Tournament.
Conditions – The conditions at Augusta National continue to be benign. While the course itself is still feeling the effects of the rain on Thursday and the greens continue to be ultra-receptive, it’s obvious that these aren’t the typical April Masters conditions. The greens look much slower than usual, but at the end of the second round earlier in the morning, Jon Rahm stated that the greens were “perfect” and “getting quicker”. Hopefully, they get a little quicker for “Master Sunday”.
The weather itself has been mundane, little to no wind, and Sunday’s forecast is perfect. Sun with clouds, light winds, and the temperature will be about 26*C or 79*C. They’re going to go low on Sunday.
The Cream Has Risen – World #1 Dustin Johnson has taken the lead and sits alone, atop the leaderboard at -16. Watching the telecast of the third round, you couldn’t help but feel that he was about to kick it into overdrive, and pull away from the field. In a way, reminiscent of an elite long-distance runner at the end of a race.
Some Cream Has Settled – While saying that the cream settling might be a little overdramatic. It’s hard to not suggest that some players fell off of the pace. Players like Abraham Ancer struggled coming through Amen Corner, and he was wincing and shaking his hand after his second shot on the Par 5 13th “Azalea”. Several players had their chance to stay with DJ but failed to execute when DJ did. Hiccups by Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed come to mind. Actually, coming to think of it. “Moving Day” didn’t really show a ton of movement.
First round leader Paul Casey has really slipped away and Tiger has plateaued a little bit since the first round. Did we see him favouring a ginger back?
Weirsy – I haven’t really pointed out anything about fellow Canuck Mike Weir. He’s really been in tough over the last several years, but has played well on PGA Tour Champions recently. It’s so nice to see the man that captured the hearts of a country when he won the fabled Green Jacket make the cut and play the weekend.
Will DJ Finish – In a word, this tournament is DJ’s to lose. I just don’t see DJ letting this slip away. Par golf on Sunday could easily claim the Green Jacket giving Dustin his first Masters title. The field will need DJ to falter a lot. Meanwhile, they’ll have to play great golf. Players like Ancer, Sungjae Im, Cameron Smith, and Dylan Frittelli would have to post at least a 67-68 just to make up ground. On Sunday, that is some tough sledding. Now if guys from the two groups ahead post low ahead of him, guys like Im or Cameron Smith, that could be enough pressure to crack DJ a little. There has been a history of DJ not finishing majors.
Until The Next Tee!!