The Masters 2022 round three review: leader Scottie Scheffler stays in control as Shane Lowry's challenge falters and Tiger Woods posts worst-ever score at Augusta

Scottie Scheffler defied the pressure of leading for the first time at a major by ensuring he remains on course for a famous maiden Masters title.

The newly-installed world No1 is hoping to add, arguably, golf’s most sought-after prize to his blossoming CV.

He put himself in pole position to do that on Friday with a five-under-par 67 that saw him soar to the top of the leaderboard on eight-under par.

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That put a target on the American’s back as the chasing pack – including Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry and Sung-Jae Im – sought to reel him in and narrow a five-shot lead.

Scottie Scheffler carded a 71 on day three at the Masters to take a three-shot lead into the final day. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Greater men have crumbled in such circumstances.

Yet it this instance, Scheffler refused to cave in. Instead, allowing others to do just that as he revelled in his position at Augusta’s summit.

Indeed, his one-under-par 71 on day three to put him on nine-under for the tournament was bettered only by Cameron Smith (68) and Tommy Fleetwood (70), with, Im (71), Lowry (73), Charl Schwartzel (73) and Matsuyama (77) all failing to make their case on moving day.

Smith’s recovery from his costly 74 on Friday, sees him move into second on six-under to reduce Scheffler’s lead to three shots.

Tiger Woods recorded his worst-ever round at the Masters after he shot a six-over-par 78 on day three at Augusta Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

That will make for an interesting Sunday, with the leader’s bogey on 18 giving hope to all those still dreaming of a green jacket.

Yet, Scheffler appears more than happy to soak up another day of pressure in the bid to win his first-ever major.

Speaking after his third round, the 25-year-old said: ‘I felt pretty comfortable (Saturday). I don't really mind people watching me.

‘If you play this game for a living, you kind of get used to people watching.

‘I had a lot of fun out there. I said at the beginning of the week that being in contention is what's fun, so being in the lead is fun.

‘When I'm in the lead, I'm trying to stay in the lead and not really overthink things; just go out there and play golf.’

‘You hate bogeying the last hole, but the way I bogeyed it, it for sure felt like a par. Definitely a good finish to the day. I'm looking forward to Sunday.

Lowry loses momentum at the wrong time

Shane Lowry was understandably downbeat as he reflected on a missed opportunity on day three.

The Irishman started Saturday on three-under, tied for second and within five shots of Scheffler.

Yet, upon leaving the 18th, the 2019 Open champion had posted a one-over-par 73, dropped to tied fourth and sitting seven shots adrift of the world no1.

According to Lowry, he’s in the form of his life.

So that makes the disappointment of his moving day harder to take as he saw his round unravel from his approach shot to nine, which rolled off the green and resulted in a costly bogey.

Indeed, the 35-year-old failed to recover, posting two further bogeys without reply on 13 and 17 to put him on two-under for the tournament.

‘I don't really know what to say. I'm obviously very disappointed,’ said Lowry, who remains the leading European heading into the final round.

‘I'm disappointed in my own self for that last 10 holes that I just had. I've just got to pick myself up and go again Sunday.

‘I just hit a few bad shots. Like nine, like geez. That just seemed to kill all my momentum that I had.

‘I had just lipped out on eight for birdie, feeling really good, and 99 yards to the flag, I mean, most stupidest shot I've hit in a while. You just can't do that if you want to win tournaments like this.

‘It's hard. I'm playing the best golf I've ever played, and how many times do I get a chance to play the best golf I've ever played at Augusta in the Masters.’

Woods sets unwanted record

Tiger Woods is certainly someone who knows what it takes to win at Augusta – but he was left ruing a disastrous afternoon on the greens as he posted his worst-ever score at Magnolia Drive.

The five-time Masters winner once again found the conditions difficult as he carded a six-over-par 78 for a second consecutive day with his score in the green.

That puts the 46-year-old on seven-over for the tournament, tied for 41st and well off the lead.

Yet it wasn’t the wind and below-seasonal temperatures that proved his downfall.

Instead, it was Woods’ accuracy with the putter that let him down as he four-putted for the first time at Augusta, recorded four three-putts and had 36 attempts in total around the greens.

‘The conditions were tough,’ admitted Woods.

‘They were tough Friday starting out, but at least we got a little bit of a lull at the end.

‘Today (Saturday), it's just been blustery all day. You add in the temperature difference, it was cold starting out. The ball wasn't going very far.

‘I thought it was tough. Some of the other guys may not say that, but for me I had a tough time.

‘I felt like I didn't really hit it that bad, but I had four three-putts and a four-putt.

‘I mean, it's just like I hit a thousand putts out there on the greens.

‘Obviously, it's affected the score. You take those away and I have normal two putts, I made even par for the day.

‘I did what I needed to do ball striking-wise, but I did absolutely the exact opposite on the greens.’

McIlroy eyes top-10 finish

While Woods came to terms with his day to forget, Rory McIlroy enjoyed his best round yet at the 86th Masters.

After one-over-par scores of 73 on days one and two, the Ulsterman posted a battling 71 on moving day – one of just nine scores below par on Saturday.

It saw the four-time major winner move into the top 10, tied for ninth, on plus-one for his three rounds.

And while it means yet another wait to complete a grand slam of majos, the 32-year-old was happy with his day’s efforts – particularly after being at risk of missing the cut on Friday.

‘I played well,’ said McIlroy, who posted four birdies and three bogeys on day three.

‘It's just hard to go very low out there. There's no easy birdies. Even the par-fives aren't (easy).

‘Yeah, it's been a tough couple of days, and I've just sort of hung in there as best as I could.

‘It's not really conditions favourable for going low and trying to get close to the leaders. So it's just sort of hanging in there and doing the best that you can.

‘You're just trying to go out and shoot the best score that you possibly can without being reckless and without taking on too much risk.

‘So I'll try to go out and do that (again) today, try to get a top 10 and move on.’

Leaderboard (top 10)

1 Scottie Sheffler (-9)

2 Cameron Smith (-6)

3 Sung-Jae Im (-4)

T4 Shane Lowry (-2)

T4 Charl Schartzel (-2)

T6 Justin Thomas (-1)

T6 Corey Connors (-1)

8 Danny Willett (Even)

T9 Tommy Fleetwood (+1)

T9 Jason Kokrak (+1)

T9 Rory McIlroy (+1)

T9 Collin Morikawa (+1)

T9 Dustin Johnson (+1)