While the often stoic Bernhard Langer brought thunder in the third round Saturday, it was Smylie Kaufman who found himself in a tie for second place and in position to become the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win at Augusta National Golf Club in a first Masters appearance.
A few things to know about Smylie:
- It’s a family name not a nickname.
- Both his mother and father played golf at LSU, as did Smylie, who is from Birmingham, Ala.
- He earned his way to Augusta by winning the Shriners Open.
- In 14 PGA Tour events in 2016, he has had six top-15 finishes and has earned just more than $2 million in 16 events.
- His 69 on Saturday was the low round of the day.
Q: Where are your emotions going to bed Saturday night in your first Masters and playing in the final pairing?
Kaufman: It’s going to be different obviously. I played the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but I was a completely different golfer than I am now.
Q: Is there any part of you that’s surprised you’re in this position?
Kaufman: Not really. The golf course plays really hard. I tend to play well on hard golf courses. I’m driving the ball really well, and if I’m going to get on the greens just as much as everybody else, I think that I’ll have a pretty good opportunity to be in contention.
Q: You compared your first win, the stress level, to watching an LSU football game. Does being in contention at a major finally overtake that stress?
Kaufman: No, it still doesn’t (laughter). LSU football is one of the most painful things to watch ever really (laughter). That just speaks to how big of a fan I am, though.
By the numbers
Majors played by Sergio Garcia without a victory. At one point early in his career, Garcia, who has earned $41.5 million in his career and won eight PGA Tour events, was thought to be the next big thing. His best finishes in each major: 2004 Masters-T4; 2005 U.S. Open-T3; 2007 and 2014 British Open-2nd and T2; 1998, 2008 PGA-2nd and T2. He enters the final round at 12 shots back after 69-75-81—225.
Consecutive Masters rounds under par by Rory McIlroy before he shot 77 on Saturday. He shot 77 in the second round in 2014.
There is a freeze warning in effect until 9 a.m., but the day should be clear with a high of 67, and the winds should ease substantially to 5-10 mph out of the east-southeast.
“I probably shot myself really out of wishful thinking for (Sunday). But it’s so brutally difficult out there.” — 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, one of the pre-tourney favorites after a strong Florida swing on the PGA Tour.
Hole of the day
No. 7 Pampas
Par 4, 434 yards
Avg.: 4.579 Birdies: 3
Pars: 24 Bogeys: 24
Doubles: 6 Other: 0
Comment: Jordan Spieth bogeyed it Saturday. Only Danny Willett of the players within the top eight was able to birdie the hole.