Bubba Watson put on a show to someone else’s soundtrack Saturday in the third round of the Masters Tournament.
The group in front of him included Matt Kuchar, who for a time led the field and drew cheers for three birdies on the front nine, and nearby galleries erupted in applause as Phil Mickelson made an eagle and four birdies, all on the second nine.
Watson’s afternoon was quieter but consistent enough to satisfy himself and draw praise from partner Paul Lawrie. He used long drives and accurate approach shots to set up short putt after short putt. He made five birdies for a 2-under 70 that left him at 6-under and in sole possession of fourth place.
“You’re hearing all these different roars from different sections, so it’s not the same guys all the time,” Watson said. “So that meant that there were some holes out there that you could attack, that you could make some low numbers on. It makes it positive. You’re wondering who it is, what’s happening, but at the same time it’s doable out there.”
Watson opened the day with a three-putt bogey on No. 1, and he said he rarely looked at the leaderboards after that as he spent most of the afternoon bouncing between 3- and 4-under for the tournament. When he did start paying attention on the final few holes, he said the pressure was on and he responded.
Watson birdied Nos. 13, 15 and 18. His second shot on the final hole set him up with a 6-foot putt he sank to finish on a high note.
“I didn’t look at where I was until the last couple holes, and I heard some big roars and saw that some numbers went up – a 9-under – so I knew that I needed to make a couple of birdies to have a better chance,” Watson said.