2022 Masters standings breakdown: Scottie Scheffler’s lead shrinks as Cameron Smith puts pressure on

Scottie Scheffler put some shots back on the court on the final nine holes of the 2022 Masters third round, creating plenty of intrigue ahead of Sunday’s final round after it emerged the world No. 1 was set to s run away with his first green jacket. There will be plenty of history at stake when Scheffler and the field step in on Sunday to take on Augusta National with $2.7 million at stake.

Scheffler is trying to become the fourth man to win in his first Masters start, joining Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen and Fuzzy Zoeller. He’s already won three times in 2022 and topped the world rankings in the process, so it’s no huge surprise to see him playing well here at Augusta National this week. He is also trying to be the fifth golfer to enter the Masters as the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world and come away with a green jacket, following Ian Woosnam, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods (twice) and Dustin Johnson.

What came as a surprise were Scheffler’s four bogeys on the last seven holes on Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, a lead that hovered around five strokes for most of the day quickly dwindled hand in hand, with Cameron Smith posting the fastest lap of the day and climbing to 6 under. Bogeys on No. 12, No. 14, No. 15 and No. 18 left Scheffler at 9 under, one shot better than he started for the championship but closer to the field than he was. was hoping for after an impressive start to the round.

Here’s what the top of the standings looks like ahead of Sunday’s final round at the 86th Masters.

Ranking Masters 2022, 3rd round

1. Scottie Scheffler (-9): A solid 33 on the front nine helped stave off ultimate damage from some risk taking and misses on the second nine as he rounded his worst round of the week but still protected a multi-shot lead. Scheffler saved himself from disaster on the 18th when he pulled his ball out of a forest to hit an incredible approach shot from a pile of pine needles. He bugged, reducing his advantage to three shots, but it could have been much worse.

2. Cam Smith (-6): The round of the day came from one of the hottest golfers in the world as Smith caught fire with six birdies on the way to a 68. Smith’s 16 birdies over three rounds are double the average of the pitch and show one of the best in the sport right now bringing their A-game into the same difficult scoring conditions that hampered their game the most.

3. Sungjae Im (-4): After a rocky start that included a double bogey on No. 1 and back-to-back bogeys at No. 5 and 6, Im had five birdies and no bogeys on his final 11 holes to surge up the standings after taking a tumble from early afternoon. Like Scheffler, 18-hole leader Im was 1 under for the day but remains in the chase.

T4. Shane Lowry, Charl Schwartzel (-2): The two great champions played near par with the court on Saturday after earning a card among the lowest scores on the court on Friday. Schwartzel eagled on the ninth but imploded on the back nine with four bogeys. Both ended the day one shot higher than they started it.

T6. Justin Thomas, Corey Conners (-1): JT is one of seven players in the top 10 with a major championship already under their belt, and therefore is theoretically a threat to Scheffler’s lead. Thomas continued his rebound from an atrocious 76 on Thursday with a 72 that beat the court average by just a few strokes. Unfortunately, while Moving Day featured an elite ball hitting the greens, it was also his worst putting performance of the tournament so far, and a few more putts would mean JT would have a much better chance of claiming his second championship. major.

Meanwhile, the iron game has been very solid from Conners all week, as has the putter, and his 72 matches that consistency as he’s hovered around the par all week as most players have posted at least one round with big numbers. The 30-year-old Canadian is building an impressive resume from Augusta with a chance to clinch his third straight top 10 finish.

T8. Danny Willett (A): The 2016 Masters champion has been a normal machine this week. His 38 pars are perfectly balanced with exactly eight birdies and eight bogeys. Willett’s 3-under 69 on Thursday helped solidify his position heading into Sunday, and if he ties that scoreline in Round 4, he’ll likely post his best result since that 2016 win.

T9. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Jason Kokrak, Tommy Fleetwood (+1): Of this group, it was Morikawa and DJ who fell back into +1 blocking while the others went below par in round three. Fleetwood’s 70 was the second fastest lap of the day. Rory finishing in the top 10 would be a bigger story if the distance from Scheffler’s lead to 10th in the standings wasn’t eight shots. There is certainly a chance to finish strong on Sunday, record his seventh top 10 in the last nine Masters and maybe even match his best result at Augusta National (4th solo in 2015). But fourth place is only three shots away, and finishing the Grand Slam is much further out of reach.

T14. Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Champ (+2): After starting the day well in the mix to chase Scheffler, the defending Masters champion saw the wheels go down in a 5-over 77 that included five bogeys and a double. Champ was the only one in this group to finish under par on Saturday, putting in a solid performance off the tee and with the putter on the greens.

T41. Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Daniel Berger and Russell Henley (+7): Tiger’s 78 was his worst at Augusta National as an amateur or professional, and Rahm’s 77 cemented what has already been a week of results well below pre-tournament expectations. Both Woods and Rahm are candidates to throw an incredibly low number on the board Sunday morning under ideal scoring conditions, but both will also later regret the way things turned out on Saturday.