Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 4 at the Masters

The green jacket within his grasp, Day lets it slip away

For the second straight day, Jason Day faltered down the stretch. The Australian, 25, had a two-shot lead late Saturday but bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17. He started Sunday birdie-eagle and added birdies at Nos. 13-15 to take the lead by himself at 9 under. But bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 cost him a chance at his first major title. "It's really tough," said Day, who shot 2-under 70 to finish third. "I think pressure got to me a little bit." Day now has three top-three finishes at majors. In 2011, he and countryman Adam Scott tied for second at the Masters behind Charl Schwartzel. He finished second to Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open. "I love this tournament regardless of where I finish," Day said. "It's a little disappointing, but there's a lot of experience that I can take into next year. And hopefully, I can wear one of those green jackets soon."

7 over … for one hole

Kevin Na (below) and Bubba Watson made 10s at the par-3 155-yard No. 12. Both hit three shots into Rae's Creek, which flows in front of the hole. "I went for the flag," said Na, who made 16 on one hole at the Texas Open in 2011. "You're not supposed to. But I'm back of the field, trying to make a birdie; maybe a 1. Plus the drop zone is actually a very difficult shot with the right pin." Na finally hit the back left of the green but failed to get up-and-down. Then after two-putting, he laughingly tipped his cap to the crowd. He shot 9-over 81 for the day. Watson hit from the drop zone on his third shot into the water. His fifth shot carried into the back bunker before his pitch ran past the pin and back into the water. He played out sideways from the sand on his eighth shot then got up-and-down for 10. Watson shot 5-over 77 for the day and finished at 7-over 295, 17 shots worse than when he won last year. By the way, the highest score at the Masters is 13 by Tom Weiskopf in 1980 — also at No. 12.

Young Dane shines after poor first round

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, whose name translates to "Thunderbear," shot 6-over 78 in the first round, effectively ending his chance of winning. But he followed with a 70 and two 68s to finish tied for sixth at 4-under 284. He also earned a return trip next year by finishing among the top 12. "I definitely learned a lot about the greens," Olesen said. "I missed a lot of putts the first round, and it got better and better every day." Olesen, 23, has won once on the European Tour. Before this weekend, his best finish at a major was tied for ninth at last year's British Open. Olesen used to go by Jacob but switched to one of his three middle names because, he said, it's more unique.

Tiger fails to make a push

After an eventful first three days, Tiger Woods had a quieter Sunday. A final-round 2-under 70 gave him a tie for fourth at 5 under, meaning Woods hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and remains four behind Jack Nicklaus' record 18. "This golf course was playing a little bit tricky," he said. "We had four different green speeds out there, and I couldn't believe how slow they were the first two days. (Saturday), I couldn't believe how fast they were. And then (Sunday), it was another different speed again." Woods started the day four behind the leaders but had two bogeys among his first eight holes. Birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 settled him down, but he was too far behind the leaders at that point. "I played well. Unfortunately, I didn't make enough putts," said Woods, who added he figured he needed to shoot 65 to have a chance to win. "I certainly had an opportunity."

More disappointment

Five years ago, Brandt Snedeker was in the final group of the Masters. But he managed only six pars in shooting 77. Afterward, his voice shook. He finally gave up, burying his face in a towel as he sobbed. As a co-leader Sunday, he was again in the final pairing. And he again struggled, recording six bogeys in shooting 3-over 75. But the only crying came from his daughter, 2. "I'm not as crushed as I was in 2008 because I know I'm going to be there again," Snedeker said. "I'm very disappointed that I didn't win, but I realize that I'm not that far off from winning this thing." Nerves weren't an issue, Snedeker said. His putter was, including a missed 3-footer for par at No. 10 that left him three off the lead. "I did not putt the way you're supposed to putt around Augusta," Snedeker said. "I just never had the speed."

Information from Times wires, and was used in this report.

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