Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson — three of the world’s four top golfers — were poised to provide a championship drama on Sunday at the Masters on one of the game’s grandest stages.
Stunning shotmaking on Saturday, including back-to-back eagles and nearly a third in a row from Mickelson, created classic roars from spectators at Augusta National Golf Club and raised expectations for a thrilling finish.
“That’s what major championships are all about,” said Westwood, who seeks his first such crown. “They are tough ones to win because great players do great things.”
Westwood, trying to become the first Englishman to win a major since Nick Faldo rallied from six strokes down on the final day to beat Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters, led the field at 12-under par 204, one stroke ahead of Mickelson.
World number one Woods, in his first event after a five-month hiatus, shared third on 208 with South Korean K.J. Choi, one stroke ahead of 50-year-old US star Fred Couples.
“The guys on the leaderboard are great players. They are going to do something,” Westwood said. “You have to expect the unexpected.”
No one has fired four rounds in the 60s at any Masters, something Westwood is poised to accomplish. He plan is simple — keep his focus on his game as he has all week.
“What Phil is doing is of no importance to my game,” Westwood said. “What Phil does is really out of my control. The only thing I can control is what I do, where I hit it.”
Westwood, who leads the field with 43 of 54 greens in regulation, will duel with Mickelson in the final last-day pairing, which has produced 18 of the past 19 Masters champion.
“We’re going to have some excitement, a real shootout,” Mickelson said.
More history is against Woods in his quest for a 15th major title and fifth Masters green jacket. Woods has never won a major when he was not leading after 54 holes. “I’m only four back. I’m in good shape. You never know,” he said.