14 Apr 2024

Ryan Fox slumps from contention at US Masters

12:31 pm on 14 April 2024
Ryan Fox in action at the US Masters.

Ryan Fox in action at the US Masters. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox has slumped out of contention at the US Masters after shooting a triple bogey late in his third round at Augusta National.

Fox four-putted on the 17th green to score a seven on the par-four hole to effectively derail what had been a promising start to the year's first major.

The 37-year-old then carded his sixth bogey of the day on the 18th to sign off on a round of five-over 77, leaving him four-over with a round to play and 11 shots off the pace.

The day had started brilliantly for Fox, who was as high as fourth on the leaderboard after after shooting birdies on each of his first three holes.

He parred the next three before a run of four successive bogeys from the seventh hole as he struggled to reach the greens in regulation.

Scheffler grabs control of Masters

Scottie Scheffler birdied his final hole to emerge from a packed leaderboard and grab a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa after the third round of the Masters while Tiger Woods shot the worst round of his major championship career on Saturday.

Scheffler, who used a back-nine eagle to get his round back on track, carded a one-under-par 71 on a firm and fast Augusta National layout to reach seven under on the week and in position to win a second Masters.

Morikawa, who is seeking the third leg of the career Grand Slam of golf's four majors, began his day with three consecutive birdies and was alone in second place after a three-under-par 69 that was one shot off the day's low round.

Max Homa (73), who along with LIV Golf's Bryson DeChambeau (75) held a share of the halfway lead with Scheffler, was a further shot back in third place while Masters debutant Sweden's Ludvig Aberg (70) was three shots off the lead.

DeChambeau struggled late with a double-bogey at the par-five 15th and then bogeyed the par-three 16th but he capped his round in style when he birdied the 18th from the fairway to sit at three under on the week.

Scheffler had dropped out of the lead after a shaky start to the back nine where he followed a double-bogey at the par-four 10th with a bogey at the 11th.

But an unflustered Scheffler joined Morikawa atop the leaderboard with a 31-foot eagle putt at the par-five 13th where his approach shot looked ready to settle some 10 feet from the hole before it suddenly gathered speed rolled away.

Scheffler then picked up another stroke at the par-five 15th where he got up and down for birdie after his approach shot from 238 yards rolled right off the back of the green and then offset his bogey at 17 with an eight-foot birdie at the last.

Denmark's Nicolai Hojgaard, looking to become the Masters rookie to win a Green Jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, moved into the lead after three birdies around the turn but followed that with five consecutive bogeys to slide down the leaderboard.

Struggling Woods

A day after only eight players broke par in a second round played amid wind gusts that topped 40 mph and made a difficult course even more challenging, the early starters were greeted with dazzling sunshine and a much lighter breeze.

Woods, fresh off his Masters record-setting 24th made cut, began his third round seven shots behind the leaders and hoping his injury-ravaged body would hold up and allow him to move into contention for the final round.

But Woods, who said this week he can still equal Jack Nicklaus's record six Masters titles, looked worn out after playing 23 holes on Friday and suffered an unwanted personal milestone with a 10-over-par 82 that was the highest 18-hole score of his major championship career.

"Just hit the ball in all the places that I know I shouldn't hit it," said Woods. "And I missed a lot of putts. Easy, makable putts. I missed a lot of them."

Following a three-putt bogey at the par-three fourth, Woods drained a fist pump-inducing birdie putt from 19 feet at the fifth before he suddenly started to unravel.

Woods bogeyed the par-three sixth after his tee shot landed behind the green, made a double-bogey at the seventh where he chipped into a bunker, carded another double at the eighth and a bogey at nine where his approach found another sand trap.

The 15-times major winner then mixed five bogeys with a lone birdie on the closing stretch of a layout that many consider one of the toughest walks in golf.

Among the other early starters was Rory McIlroy, who began the day 10 shots off the lead and seeking a low score to boost his hopes of completing the career Grand Slam of golf's four majors but had to settle for a one-under-par 71.

"All I can do is come here and try my best. That's what I do every time I show up. Some years it's better than others," said world number two McIlroy. "I've just got to keep showing up and try to do the right thing."

- RNZ / Reuters