With Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and David Lynn all tied at 3-under entering Saturday’s third round of the Masters Tournament, the opportunity for a British invasion on the top of the leaderboard was there.
It didn’t happen, and it wasn’t really close.
On a day when red numbers were tough to come by at Augusta National – only 15 players broke par Saturday – none of the contending Brits could accomplish the feat.
Westwood came the closest, carding 1-over 73 to finish the day at 2-under 214, tied for ninth with four others.
“It was a 73 that easily could have been a 70,” said Westwood, who sits five shots off the lead shared by Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera at 7-under. “I don’t think 73’s going to do an awful lot of damage. I still feel like I’m going to have a chance.”
Rose, hampered by a nagging back injury that kept him from speaking to the media after his round, slipped to 3-over 75 and dropped to even-par 216 for the tournament, tied for 18th.
Lynn fell the hardest, ballooning to 8-over 80, which dropped him to 5-over 221 and tied for 44th.
“It just showed me how easy you can rack up a number,” said Lynn, who had fired a first-round 68 and followed with a solid 73 on Friday. “It was just one of those things. I felt as good as I felt the first two days, but things just got away from me.”
Of the three Brits who began the day three shots back and well within striking distance of second-round leader Jason Day, only Westwood was able to keep his round together. He made bogeys at Nos. 4 and 7 and slipped to 1-under before finishing his front nine with a birdie he hoped would jump-start a back-nine charge.
Instead, Westwood ho-hummed his way home. He parred each hole on the back nine, unable to capitalize on any of the birdie chances he gave himself.
In particular, Westwood said, his performance on the par-5s proved to be the difference between a solid round and one that could have vaulted him squarely into contention. He parred all four, squandering his best chances for birdie despite being in position off the tee.
“I just didn’t make up enough on the par-5s,” he said. “I would have liked to have birdied 8 – that was the easiest flag of the week on that hole. And I didn’t get 13 or 15 when I had chances.”
Rose actually got to 4 under with birdie on No. 3. He followed with bogey on the next hole and bogeyed No. 7, too, before a double bogey on No. 12 dropped him back to even.
Doing what Westwood couldn’t – making birdie on both par-5s on the back – Rose rallied to get back to 2-under. But bogeys at 16 and 18 derailed his round late.
A bogey-bogey start for Lynn was merely an indicator of what was to come. After making six birdies in his opening round, he has had only two since and only one Saturday, at No. 6.
That momentarily got him back under par, but he
immediately gave it back, and the back nine was a complete struggle as he finished with 41.