The Masters set for epic finale: Scottie Scheffler faces stiff final-day challenge from star-studded field | Golf News

Could an all-time classic Augusta final round play out on Sunday, with world No 1, and 2022 champion, Scottie Scheffler currently holding a one-stroke lead, but with a star-studded field eager to chase him down.

In among the top contenders are some potential first-time major winners, including two making their Masters debuts; there’s the prospect of the third leg of a career Grand Slam being completed, or could we see a LIV golfer lift the trophy?

Or could we simply be in store for a Scheffler procession down the stretch? Here’s what he and a collection of his closest challengers had to say ahead of the final-day’s drama…

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Watch highlights from the third round of The Masters from Augusta National as Scottie Scheffler produced a one-under-par round to lead the tournament.

The Masters – Live

Sunday 14th April 3:00pm

The Masters – Live

Sunday 14th April 6:30pm

Scheffler’s quest for a second Augusta success

Scottie Scheffler: Overnight leader at seven under after a third-round 71, which included a stunning eagle at 13 after having dropped three shots at 10 and 11

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Scottie Scheffler’s eagle at the 13th sent him back to the top of the leaderboard at Augusta National.

“I’m proud of how I played today. It was a good fight out there.

“It’s nice to have that experience [of winning in 2022], but going into tomorrow, that’s really all that it is. I can reflect on some of that stuff from that round and this is a position I’m very familiar with.

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Scottie Scheffler once again leads The Masters after shooting a one-under-par 71 during the third round at Augusta National.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about my process and trying to stay patient out there and hit all my shots and hit quality putts as well.

“I’m excited for the challenge of going and trying to win the golf tournament.”

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Scottie Scheffler claims he’s confident with how he’s playing ahead of the final round at The Masters.

Can Morikawa move one away from career Grand Slam?

Collin Morikawa: 2020 PGA champion and 2021 Open champion, playing in the final pairing with Scheffler, trailing by one at six under

Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug after winning The Open
Collin Morikawa celebrates his second major win with the Claret Jug at the 2021 Open Championship

“Scottie is the No 1 player in the world for a reason, and what he’s done over the past few years is incredible. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t scare me.

“If you told me at the beginning of the week that I’d be one back heading into Sunday, I would have taken that any time. You give yourself a chance with 18 holes left, that’s all you can really do.

“Thankfully I’ve already been able to win two [majors], so I can kind of go back on those experiences and take that experience into tomorrow.

“It doesn’t mean tomorrow is going to be a perfect day or go exactly as I planned. But I know how to prep, at least. And I think I’ve got a pretty good plan, so hopefully we can execute it tomorrow.

“It always crosses your mind [winning the green jacket]. I’m not going to say that it doesn’t… we are here on a Saturday night, and I’m one back.”

LIV contenders to cause Augusta upset?

Bryson DeChambeau: 2020 US Open champion, still in the mix at three under as he signs off third round of 75 with chip-in birdie at 18, having lost three-way grip on the lead from day two

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Bryson DeChambeau kept his hopes of winning The Masters alive by sensationally holing out for a birdie on the 18th hole to close out his third round.

“It’s not easy when the course conditions aren’t kind of leaning to your favour.

“You just have to stay positive no matter what. I had a great break on 18… I’ll take that any day of the week.

“It’s very difficult to chase, but I’m going to take what I can on this golf course where I can, and I’ve got to make some putts. If I can make some putts tomorrow, I think I can have a good opportunity. I’m excited.”

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While preparing to be interviewed following his round, Scottie Scheffler was left stunned by Bryson DeChambeau’s hole out on the 18th hole at The Masters.

Cameron Smith: 2022 Open champion, currently six shots off the pace at one under

“I think I’m still in the golf tournament. The way that the golf course is playing, I feel really confident with my ball striking – it’s probably the best I’ve felt in a while – and it only takes one or two their way and one or two my way, then suddenly it’s really close.

“I’d like to think I’m a pretty smart golfer. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, hitting it to 15, 20 feet, and hopefully they go in tomorrow. I’ve just got to keep grinding it out.”

Will Augusta crown a first-time major winner?

Max Homa: Tied at the top with Scheffler and DeChambeau heading into day three, a round of 73 has him two strokes off the lead at five under

Max Homa lines up a putt on the seventh hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Max Homa is in third at five under heading into the final round at Augusta National

“I’m going to remind myself I’m a dog and I’m ready for this moment.

“If I catch myself thinking about what could go wrong, I let myself dream about what could go right. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

“I think that’s the thing… I was really nervous on 18 and putt it right in the middle. Just because you’re nervous and uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to succeed. Even if I am nervous tomorrow, I’ve just got to embrace it.”

Xander Schauffele: 2020 Olympic champion, but yet to taste major success… he sits five back at two under going into Sunday

Xander Schauffele hits his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of The Players Championship golf tournament Saturday, March 16, 2024, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Olympic golf medallist Xander Schauffele is still searching for a first major win

“I kind of have to go out and shoot something ridiculous tomorrow.

“Absolutely [it’s possible]. That’s all I can shoot for.

“I’m going to be ahead of the leading groups, but not too far… You just want a chance coming down that back nine. Hopefully I’ll have mine tomorrow.”

Two European stars eyeing Masters glory on Augusta debuts

Ludvig Åberg: The 24-year-old Swede, who starred in Team Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup win, is currently fourth on the leaderboard at four under

Ludvig Aberg, of Sweden, tosses a ball while waiting to tee off on the 11th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Ludvig Aberg followed up a 69 on Friday with a round of 70 on Saturday to push himself firmly into contention

“I think about it all the time [winning a first major]. I’m okay thinking about it.

“Obviously I’m a competitor and I want to win tournaments… I don’t think you should shy away from it. I don’t think you should try to push it away. I try to embrace it, and I try to be okay with all that comes with it.

“Obviously I will keep an eye on the leaderboard tomorrow and see where we’re at. You’re always trying to put yourself in the right positions and try to make the putts. That’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow even if we’re tied for the lead or two back or four back.”

Nicolai Hojgaard: The 23-year-old Dane briefly held the lead at seven under on Saturday before a run of five-straight bogeys on the second nine dropped him back to two under

Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark plays his second shot on the second hole during the round two of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Nicolai Hojgaard is another surprised contender on his Masters debut

“I played lovely through the first 10 and was in a position where I was really good mentally, playing really good golf… but then I hit a couple loose shots. From 13 onwards, it all happened a little bit fast.

“If I knew the formula, I probably would have done it out there. It’s just tricky.

“At the moment, I’m all over the place. But I’ve got to regroup, got to go out and do my best tomorrow.

“There’s been a lot of good stuff this week. Tomorrow, I’ll try to do the same thing and put myself in a position where, with a few birdies on the back nine, I might have a shot.”

Who will win The Masters? Watch Featured Groups live on Sunday from 3pm via the red button or log in to the Sky Sports app, with live build-up on Sky Sports Golf from 3pm ahead of full coverage from 6.30pm.

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