Wednesday 11 December 2019

Masters set for dramatic finale

Joost Luiten finished his final round of the 78th Masters as the leaders set off, but the Ryder Cup hopeful's superb 67 suggested an exciting finale was in store at Augusta National.

Luiten birdied four of the last five holes to finish four over par on his tournament debut, taking advantage of some more generous pin positions than in Saturday's third round.

"It feels really good to shoot 67 on Sunday at the Masters," said Luiten, who made the halfway cut on the mark of four over before a third round of 77. "I look at my tournament and I'm very happy. Yesterday was a little bit of an off day, and in the future you need four good days to compete here.

"It felt like they watered the greens a little bit overnight. They were a little bit slower and a little bit more forgiving than yesterday when they were very slick and quick.

"So it felt like they set it up a little bit easier, but there were still a lot of tough pin positions and you just have to play smart to some of them and take your par and then go on to the next."

Former champion Bubba Watson and fellow American Jordan Spieth shared the lead on five under par heading into the final round, the 20-year-old Spieth looking to become the youngest ever Masters champion and first to win on debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

At the other end of the spectrum, 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was aiming to become the oldest winner of any major and the first European to claim a green jacket since his compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999.

Jimenez got off to a poor start with a bogey on the first, but a superb bunker shot on the par-five second set up a birdie to get him back to three under.

Playing partner Rickie Fowler had birdied the first, only to three-putt the second from just eight feet to drop back to three under alongside Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who had birdied the third.

England's Lee Westwood, seeking a first major title at the 64th attempt, had dropped back to one under after a bogey on the third.

Westwood's chances suffered a potentially decisive blow with a double bogey on the fourth which left him one over par, one shot behind Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, who suffered the embarrassment of being outscored by his marker on Saturday, had been four over after a bogey at the fourth, but then birdied the seventh, eighth, ninth and 11th to get back to level par.

Defending champion Adam Scott was also level, the Australian recovering from two early bogeys to also card a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh.

That was six off the lead held by Spieth, who had birdied the second, with Matt Kuchar also six under before four-putting the fourth for a double bogey.

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