Masters notes: Woods celebrates ... for good reason

Woods raised his arms in victory.

After his tee shots at the 12th hole in the first two rounds of the 2018 Masters found water, who could blame him?

Woods bogeyed the hole Thursday and Friday when hit finished in Rae’s Creek. On Saturday, his tee shot safely found the green. After raising his arms, Woods made the safe sign with a big smile.

“How about that?” Woods said. “You know, I just, I just couldn't do it three days in a row. I just couldn't do it. And I gave it a little bit more gas on it and made sure that I was long if I did miss, and I hit a good one in there. And missed the putt, but, hey, you know, that's a lot easier to play the hole from the green than it is dropping.”

A 3 is certainly better than a 4.

Woods finished the third round with an even-par round and remains at 4 over for the tournament.

Another triple-bogey for Mickelson

A swing and a miss.

It’s been that kind of Masters for Phil Mickelson.

The three-time champion got in trouble on the opening hole of the third round. His tee shot landed among the trees, and Mickelson had to deal with a low-hanging bow in an attempt to get back in the fairway. He swung and missed on his first attempt and ended up with a triple-bogey.

“Yeah, I hit the trunk on the down swing and just whiffed it,” Mickelson said. “And punched out and made triple. I've made a lot of triples lately.”

Mickelson was in contention during the second round when a triple-bogey on the ninth hole got him off track. Entering his 26th Masters, only four times had Mickelson carded worse than a double-bogey on a hole. He’s had two this week.

Mickelson, who made the weekend on the cut line, shot a 2 over par and is 7 over for the tournament.

Fleetwood goes on birdie binge

Hello, Tommy Fleetwood.

The Englishman made five consecutive birdies in the third round of the Masters on Saturday to play his way into contention.

Fleetwood was even-par entering the round. He had two front-side birdies, but was still well behind the leaders. And then he went on a hot streak. He birdied Nos. 12-16 and got to 7 under par. The Masters’ record for consecutive birdies is seven, by Steve Pate in the third round in 1999 and Tiger Woods in the third round in 2005.

A three-putt bogey on the 18th prevented Fleetwood from recording the low round of the tournament. He finished 6 under par for the day and tournament.

“Holed one on 12 and then just started a run of really, really good iron shots,” Fleetwood said. “I had a chance on 17, too, but it wasn't to be. Around that corner, when you get to 14, 15, 16, the atmosphere is always very good there and the noise is up, and it was nice to be getting something going around there.”

Fleetwood, ranked 12th in the world, made his Masters debut last year, but missed the cut. He just missed qualifying for the event in 2016, a spot that went to Danny Willet, who went on to win the green jacket.

Too bad this isn’t better ball

John Rahm and Matt Kuchar were paired for the third round and put up impressive numbers – if they were playing a better-ball tournament. The duo would have been 11-under-par 61 for the round. On the supposed team card, Rahm birdied Nos. 1, 2, 10 16 and eagled No. 8. Kuchar birdied Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17.

On his own card, Rahm finished with a 7-under-par 65, tying the low round of the tournament with Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

Making cuts

Fred Couples made his 30th cut at the Masters, tying him with Gary Player for second-place all-time. They trail Jack Nicklaus, who made 37 cuts at the tournament. The 58-year-old Couples and Player tied for the most consecutive cuts made, at 23. Couples played the weekend from 1983-2007.

The winner of the 1992 Masters, Couples shot a 1-over-par 73 on Saturday and is 3 over for the tournament.

Impressive marker

Paul Casey was the first golfer off in the third round and played with marker Jeff Knox.

The two shared several laughs, including one when Knox picked up a missed putt and urged Casey not to do the same should he miss. Knox birdied the 11th hole and impressed Casey.

“Even Tiger said to me on the putting green, he goes, ‘Seriously, dude, he's played the last eight weekends at the Masters.’ He's got to be a regular.”