Koepka Leads by Four Strokes When Weather Brings 87th Masters to a Halt

Brooks Koepka is the leader, but the weather won the day.

Koepka held a four-stroke lead over third-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain when cold, windy and wet weather halted play in the third round with all 54 players on the course in the 87th Masters at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Ga.

Much of the field had to return in the morning to finish round two before the cut was made because play also was halted by rain the day before.

Koepka was one-under-par for the day through six holes and 13-under for the tournament when the end came this time, the only player in double figures as he seeks his first Masters title to go with two U.S. Open and two PGA Championship victories.

“Yeah, it’s obviously super difficult,” said Koepka, who captured the LIV Golf Orlando event last week and played the first two rounds of the Masters in 65-67 the last two days to grab the lead. “The ball’s not going anywhere. You’ve got rain to deal with, and it’s freezing cold. It doesn’t make it easy.

“I’m not too concerned about playing 29 holes or however many holes we’ve got left. It’s part of the deal. I’m pretty sure I’ll be up for it considering it is the Masters. So I don’t think anybody should have a problem with that.

“It’s freezing cold out there and that doesn’t make it easy. You’ve got to make some pressure putts. You knew it was going to be a difficult day. You’ve just got to grind through it and try to salvage something.”

Even though Koepka has a four-stroke lead, he will be looking at an 11-foot putt for par on the seventh hole when play resumes tomorrow, while Rahm can cut into the lead if he can make his nine-footer for birdie.

Rahm, who started 65-69, is one-over-par through six holes in round three, with a birdie on the second hole and bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4. He is one of the players who had to return in the morning to finish the second round.

“(Nos.) 17 and 18 were two absolute monsters,” said Rahm, whose only major victory came in the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South in La Jolla, said of early morning experience when the cold, wet, windy weather had already taken hold of the course. “I was just very happy to finish those two even-par.

“Looks like it’s good weather tomorrow, so we’re going to have good conditions and most likely a soft golf course. I’m very happy with the way I finished; I made a great swing on No. 6 and two great swings on No. 7. So I’m feeling confident, playing good golf and there’s a lot to be played.

“When you’re in the position we’re in, adrenaline kicks in. I am feeling good, feeling strong and want to keep it going.”

Amateur Sam Bennett, a senior at Texas A&M who is the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, was two-over for the day and six-under for the tournament after six holes, which put him seven shots back in solo third.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay was three-under through 13 holes and five-under overall, which put him in a tie for third with Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who was three-under through 11, ninth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway and Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who both were one-over through seven holes and five-under overall.

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson of San Diego was even through nine holes and four-under for the tournament to sit nine down in a tie for eighth with Justin Rose of England, Russell Henley and Joaquin Niemann of Chile, who all were even through nine holes; 2015 PGA champion Jason Day of Australia, who was one-over through seven, and 2020-21 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young, who was one-over after eight.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler was two-under through 12 for the day and in a tie for 14th at three-under, seventh-ranked Xander Schauffele was even for the day through 12 and two-under overall in a tie for 17th, while fifth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia was one-under through10 holes and the same number for the tournament in a tie for 23rd that included sixth-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, who was one-over for the day through 13 and one-under overall.

Five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods made the cut on the number at 74-73—147, but was six-over through seven holes in round three and dead last in 54th at nine-over. Woods tied the Masters record shared by Gary Player and Fred Couples by making 23 consecutive cuts.

Tenth-ranked Justin Thomas made a double-bogey 6 on the 11th hole and added four bogeys down the stretch to finish at 70-78—148 and missed the cut by one stroke, while second-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who needs a Masters victory to complete the Career Grand Slam, wound up at 72-77—149 to miss by two shots.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard

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