Masters Sunday is finally here, and while it's a little bittersweet to know that by this evening we will have to go a full year to get back to Augusta National, the excitement is palpable and the winner is still in the air. What do each of the leaders need to do to snag this green jacket? We take a look.
Tiger Woods, 3-under, four back -- If it wasn't for the two shot penalty, Tiger would be just two back on this packed leaderboard and in a very good position to win his first ever major championship coming from behind on Sunday. With the Friday situation, Woods sits four back and must get some momentum going early if he wants to put fear in the leaders. The key to a Tiger win on Sunday? A really special back nine, similar to what we say from Phil Mickelson in 2004. The pins on the back nine par-5s are very accessible and Woods will need to make the turn two or three under to have a chance, but it will be the 13th and 15th that make it or break it for the four-time Masters champion. If Woods could play those two par-5s three or four under on Sunday he might have a chance.
Tim Clark, 3-under, four back -- Augusta National is supposed to be a bomber's paradise, but Clark is just another in a long list of short hitters that are having some success here. Clark will have to keep the foot on the gas this Sunday if he wants to continue this incredible surge up the leaderboard but a second 67 this Sunday probably won't be enough. Clark is hitting 85 percent of his fairways this week, but if he could improve on his 29 putts per round he's averaging on Sunday he might have a chance at his first major.
Matt Kuchar, 4-under, three back -- If Kuchar doesn't win this week he will be looking back at that Friday 75 as the reason why, but the key to Kuchar on Sunday is to improve on the holes that have been giving him fits. Three holes at Augusta National (Nos. 4, 11 and 16) account for six of the nine bogeys he's made this week, so if Kuchar can get through those holes unscathed I think he might have a chance to surprise the leaders.
Jason Day, 5-under, two back -- Saturday would have ended up okay for Day, the leader after two rounds, if he would have been able to finish his round, but a bogey-bogey finish shot him down the leaderboard. Day needs to forget about that, go out and bomb the golf ball around Augusta National like he's been doing all week. If he can keep the ball in the fairway, his par on Sunday should be something like 69 and I feel like of all the guys on this leaderboard, he has the best chance to go low on a golf course that is set up for fireworks.
Marc Leishman, 5-under, two back -- The comfortable pairing of Leishman with his fellow countryman Adam Scott should help, but it won't hurt the Aussie to try and forget where he's at. The 29-year-old has never finished in the top-10 at a major championship, and missed the cut in his only other Masters start, so maybe getting lost a little under some of the bigger names on the leaderboard will be good for this man.
Adam Scott, 6-under, one back -- His birdie run to end his Saturday round was huge, but Scott will need to continue to put pressure on the two men ahead of him if he wants to avoid what happened at the 2011 Masters. Scott seems major championship ready, but he needs to believe that and go out and try to win this thing as opposed to not losing it like he did last year at the British Open. Scott has made just one bogey on the back nine at Augusta this week and will need that trend to continue if he wants a green coat come Sunday night.
Angel Cabrera, 7-under, leading -- The only major winner in the top eight besides Tiger is the quiet assassin on this leaderboard, but if he continues what he's doing to the back nine at Augusta this thing is all but over. Cabrera has made 10 birdies this week on holes 12-18 including closing birdies on No. 18 on both Friday and Saturday and I feel like he's the most comfortable of anyone on this leaderboard with the lead in a major championship. The key to Augusta National is putting, but it doesn't help when you're hitting greens at a rapid pace like Cabrera has this week, and it feels like if he continues this he is going to be very hard to beat in his quest for a second green jacket.
Brandt Snedeker, 7-under, leading -- Back in 2008, Snedeker entered the final round playing in the final group at the Masters, but this is a completely different man than the one that shot that Sunday 77. Snedeker is playing as good a golf as anyone in the world right now, and while we might have questioned him coming in this week because of his rib injury, it's obvious he's ready to win his first major championship. Snedeker is hitting over 80 percent of the fairways at Augusta and 72 percent of his greens, but he's struggled out of the sand this week, saving shots just once out of five trips to the beach. That will be something to watch, as will his play on the back nine which has been rather spectacular at the 2013 Masters. If Snedeker can keep avoiding the bogeys on his final nine (he has made just one all week on his way in), and take advantage of the right holes he might just add major champion to his already steller resume.
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