Moving Day at the Masters turned into separation day as clarity came, slowly but surely, at the top of the leaderboard as 36-hole leader Dustin Johnson broke away from the rest of the field with a 7-under 65 that thrust him into pole position. At 16 under on the week, Johnson has tied a 54-hole Masters record set by Jordan Spieth in 2015. Spieth, of course, went on to win the green jacket by a four-stroke margin.
Entering Sunday, it’s Johnson’s jacket to lose as he became the first player in Masters history with two rounds of 65 or better in the same tournament. He also became one of only four at the event to card a 66 or better after leading through 36 holes; the prior three to reach that accomplishment all won.
Johnson’s four-stroke lead entering the final 18 holes is the largest such lead at the Masters since 2015.
As for the rest of the field, here’s a spin through the leaderboard with a look at those that survived the Saturday cut and remain in the mix, some more so than others.
1. Dustin Johnson (-16): D.J. posted his second bogey-free round of the week as he put on a clinic from the jump, eagling No. 2 and making birdies at Nos. 3, 4 and 7 before making the turn. He made nine pars and two birdies to close out his day, and he missed just two greens in regulation for a second consecutive round. The Masters is Johnson’s to lose.
T2. Sungjae Im, Abraham Ancer, Cameron Smith (-12): Im’s first career Masters appearance continued to be an impressive one as he fired off a 4-under 68 Saturday, rebounding after a 70 on Friday. It was the third-best round of the day among the field and his best day all week with the putter. Ancer and Smith were just as impressive with matching 69s to remain tied on the leaderboard. It was Smith’s most complete round all week as he turned in a bogey-free scorecard and caught a groove late, playing his final six holes at 3 under.
5. Dylan Frittelli (-11): After a second-round 73 for the South African, he responded with a bogey-free 67 to climb nearly 10 spots on the leaderboard and into the top five. Frittelli’s length off the tees was again a strength for him as he blasted it nearly 30 yards longer than the field on average.
6. Justin Thomas (-10): It wasn’t the finish Thomas probably envisioned — he played the last seven holes at 1 over and bogeyed No. 18 to finish the day — but it’s not the end of the road for him yet. Sitting six strokes off the lead, Thomas would have to overcome one of the biggest final-round deficits at the Masters to win the week. If Johnson slips up and Thomas posts another 66, as he shot Thursday, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.
T7. Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Sebastian Munoz (-9): For Rahm and for Reed, Saturday will probably be a what-could’ve-been round. Reed had so many opportunities to gain ground, but with every step forward, he took one back. In between his six birdies, he managed three bogeys — including on his final two — and had a messy double-bogey on No. 5 that really stunted his day. Rahm had a similar struggle after a disaster at the par05 8th in which he hit a tree and had to take an unplayable penalty, eventually finishing that hole with a double-bogey. Fittingly, he capped his day with a missed par save on No. 18, and he punched air and let out a grunt, visibly frustrated with how the day went. It was that kind of round for the Spaniard as he failed to capitalize on his opening two rounds, and he now sits seven strokes off the lead after being within a stroke after day two.
T10. Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Tommy Fleetwood (-8): McIlroy followed up his week-best 66 on Friday with a 67 on Saturday. And after coming oh so close to fully dominating with the putter over his first 36 holes, he finished with the fewest putts in a round all week. Koepka, meanwhile, strung together yet another solid round to card his second consecutive 69. He bogeyed Nos. 5 and 6 but birdied Nos. 2 and 3 for the first time all week and eagled No. 15. He’s played the par 5s this week at 8 under.
T21. Tiger Woods and five others (-5): The defending Masters champion didn’t have the goods Saturday as he appeared to battle back discomfort and stumbled to an even-par 72. It was his worst putting performance all week, and he struggled reading the greens as they became more slippery throughout the day. Woods managed to birdie two of his final seven holes on the day to get two back he gave away earlier in the round, but he heads to Sunday with his chances of repeating all but completely extinguished.
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