Coming into the first major of the season, there were two distinct themes at a tournament known as “a tradition unlike any other.”
It was expected that 20-somethings such as defending champ Jordan Spieth, world No. 1 Jason Day or Rory Mcllroy, gunning for the final piece of the career grand slam, might put their personal stamps on a new chapter at the Masters.
At the same time, the memories came flooding back from decades ago on the 30th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus winning a green jacket at the age of 46.
Whether it’s a young lion or an old dog putting on that green jacket this year is still very much up in the air.
After Saturday’s third round, Spieth is at three under, but his bogey-double bogey finish in a one-over 73 has 10 players within four shots of his lead, which is just one better than Smylie Kaufman, who fired a three-under 69 on Saturday.
Other names within the above-mentioned striking range include Brandt Snedeker (+1), major-less Lee Westwood (+1), Dustin Johnson (E), who handed last year’s U.S. Open to Spieth, Day (E) and 58-year-old Bernhard Langer, who is tied for third at one under, just two shots back.
Langer, who shot a two-under 70 on Saturday, has a win among five top-10 finishes in five events this season on the Champions Tour. Last year, he had two wins among 13 top-10s in 19 events.
While Nicklaus pushed his major record to 18 with his fireworks back in 1986, Langer is a two-time Masters champ who is 12 years old than the Golden Bear was 30 years ago.
It’s Sunday at Augusta. There may well be new traditions established by Spieth or Day or even Rory McIlroy, who is at two over. There’s always the possibility of the unexpected in a guy like Kaufman.
Anything is possible the way the leaderboard looks after the third round, but seeing a 58-year-old shrugging on a green jacket would certainly be one for the ages.
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