Recapping the Third Round of the 2024 Masters

Scottie Scheffler holds the 54-hole lead at Augusta National as he looks for his second Masters title


With firm conditions and a difficult setup, the third round of the 2024 Masters was a complete test of golf. Despite a rocky Saturday, Scottie Scheffler holds the 54-hole lead as he looks for his second Masters title.

Here’s what to expect for the final round:


By Joseph LaMagna

Sunday at the Masters sets up to be a doozy. Through three rounds, we’ve had nearly ideal conditions, a tremendous course setup, and a stellar display of golf from the best ball-strikers in the world. Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa comprise the final group on Sunday, setting up an epic showdown between arguably the two best iron players on the planet. World No. 1 Scheffler looks to add a second major championship title to his belt by securing his second green jacket. Collin Morikawa, who has actually struggled so far in 2024 relative to the rest of his career, has the chance to win his third major championship since 2020, the most of any player in that time frame. Not a bad final pairing!

The million-dollar question: how far back is too far back to win? Let’s allow historical data to serve as a guide.

Four highly talented players are within three strokes of the lead. And, following a dramatic finish to his third round (see Shot of the Day below), Bryson DeChambeau sits four strokes back. Since 1997, only once has a player erased a deficit of four strokes or more to win (Charl Schwartzel in 2011.) When considering the likelihood of a come-from-behind win, you must consider the number of golfers between a player and the leader, not just the total deficit. When Schwartzel did it in 2011, for example, he was tied for second entering the final round. The last time a Masters champion won from both outside the top four and more than three strokes behind: Nick Faldo, who was tied for ninth and five shots out of the lead in 1989.

The task of coming from behind is especially daunting when the 54-hole leader is the best golfer in the world and a former Masters champion in his own right. An elite ball-striker with a well-earned reputation for avoiding mistakes, Scheffler is unlikely to give away much on Sunday. This prediction could look silly, but this is a four-horse race between Scheffler, Morikawa, Max Homa, and Ludvig Åberg, with a tiny sliver of a chance for a couple of other golfers in a scenario where they get red hot and Scottie stumbles.

What a delight it will be tomorrow to watch a handful of young, hungry, brilliant golfers strike their way around one of the best and most demanding venues in all of golf. It’s Sunday at the Masters. Let’s see who gets the job done.


By Jay Rigdon

Max Homa shot a birdie-free 73 on Saturday, dropping from a share of the lead to two shots behind Scottie Scheffler. It certainly wasn’t his ideal day, and it has to be frustrating for Homa, especially as his second round on Friday featured no birdies after the fourth hole. But watching him grind out the 73 was compelling in its own right. It’s not easy for a professional to take his medicine for hours at a time, much less an entire day, much less throughout what had to be one of the most anticipated rounds of his life. But that’s exactly what Max did, only faltering on 12 after running a recovery chip from behind the green too far past the hole. 

But it was an odd moving day at Augusta, and Homa remains very much in contention. If he can go low on Sunday, he should find himself right there. Today shouldn’t be a disappointment for him, and based on his reaction at the last, I don’t think it will be. After hitting a perfect tee shot, Max missed on the short side in the front bunker. He also had to wait, first for Bryson to play his recovery from the trees, and then again for Bryson to make a birdie from the fairway, leaving Max playing out from the bunker alone in front of a still-buzzing crowd. But as he did all day, Max stayed calm, hitting an excellent bunker shot and then pouring in the par putt, which he fist-pumped into the hole. That moment said a lot. Max knew that even a putt for 73 was intensely meaningful, because he’s still in the tournament. He was grinding through his very last roll of the day. 

After the round, Max reflected on his mental approach: “I’m a dog and I’m going to remind myself that I’m ready for this moment…If I catch myself thinking about what could go wrong, I let myself dream about what can go right.” Those quotes sound like BS unless you watched him play the round he had just played, in which case they’re quite believable. That’s a high-level professional mindset, and if he can regain some of his Thursday form tomorrow, he might make things interesting.


By Jay Rigdon

Out of the 13 LIV Golf players who made the trip to Augusta National this year, eight made the cut. It’s tempting to try and make sweeping generalizations about whether or not LIV prepares players for a major based on this week, but to do so feels premature given the small sample size. It won’t stop people from doing so, especially the pro-LIV contingent who are transparently desperate to be taken seriously. But those motivations are obvious; had 13 players missed the cut, the LIV crowd would have pointed to the same small sample to counter any criticism. Had 13 of them made the cut, that same crowd would have declared unequivocal victory. Instead, things are a little murkier.

Rather than trying to extrapolate any larger narratives or unearth underlying causes, we can instead focus on the facts: Bryson DeChambeau was contending to win this tournament until his disastrous back nine, but his miracle birdie to close kept him within range. Cam Smith is at -1; given the bunched leaderboard, he’s not out of it. The remaining six players are scattered down the board: Reed at +1, Niemann and Hatton at +3, Rahm at +5, Mickelson and Koepka at +6. Again, this is just one tournament. But, barring a DeChambeau comeback on Sunday or a miracle run from Smith or Reed to leap into contention, it’s not going to be the kind of week that allows Greg Norman to crow with any credibility. Not that a lack of facts has ever stopped him before.


Bryson’s back nine was, well, brutal. On a day when players at the top of the board didn’t do much to separate themselves, Bryson had a real chance to make noise on the par 5s. He didn’t. In fact he made double on 15, after hitting one of the worst shots of the tournament, flubbing a pitch into the water after putting himself in trouble with an overeager second shot. He salvaged things to a degree with that holed shot on 9 (see below), but making up four shots on Scheffler will be a tall order.

Trevor Immelman is just so good at this. He brings the same sort of enthusiasm and energy and clear love of golf to the booth that Tony Romo does for football, but he doesn’t overwhelm proceedings and he’s clearly done all the homework. Delightful.

When conditions are firm, fast, and windy at Augusta, it’s just absurdly good. “Gettable but terrifying” makes for the best tournament golf.

After his Saturday 76, Jason Day received twelve consecutive questions about his scripting this week, touching on Thursday’s billowy pants and revealing that Augusta officials asked him to remove the “busy” sweater vest that became a story in itself on Friday.

Tiger shot 82, telling the media after the round that he just didn’t have it and suggesting that Friday took a lot out of him. It’s his worst score ever at Augusta.

Ratings and viewership were up across the board for Thursday and Friday coverage. It’s dangerous business to try and spin ratings data in support of any take; there’s so much noise it makes it tough to do with any accuracy. Still, for the Masters at least, it beats the hell out of losing ground.

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