Defending champion Jordan Spieth takes a one-shot lead over Smylie Kaufman into the final round of the Masters Sunday, with 58-year-old Bernhard Langer, trying to become the oldest major winner ever, and Hideki Matsuyama, just two back.
Here’s what the cast of characters at the top of the leaderboard had to say on a Saturday at Augusta National. For more on Saturday’s third round, click here.
Jordan Spieth on his bogey-double bogey finish and what he plans to do overnight with a one-shot lead.
“Probably go break something really quick, have dinner and watch a movie. I’ll be fine. It’s tough. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do yet. I’ll just go grab some dinner and lay low, do the same thing I’ve done the last 12 rounds here at night, which is get to bed at a decent time, try and get a good amount of rest and tee off late in the afternoon.”
I think it will be tough personally. I mean honestly, I think it will be tough to put it behind. I think I will, but that wasn’t a fun last couple holes to play from the position I was in. I’m not going to dodge the question by any means. It’s not going to be fun tonight for a little while, and hopefully I just sleep it off and it’s fine tomorrow. I imagine that will be the case.”
I certainly felt better last year on Saturday night than I do right now. I had a four‑shot lead and everything was going right. Just came off a great up‑and‑down on 18. Yeah, I felt much better, I felt much better about my position last year than I do right this second, just because of what happened in the last 40 minutes.
At the same time, I feel that if I can get to the range, I straighten the ball out tomorrow, I get back to the same routine I was just in, I certainly think that down the stretch, I’m better prepared now than I was at this point last year.
It’s hard for me to say that because we just answered every statement made on the golf course last year on Sunday, so I can’t rely on the putter the way I did today. I’ve got to strike the ball better. That’s what leaves me a little uneasy compared to last year.”
Smylie Kaufman on being one shot back and playing in the final group on Sunday.
“I’m just kind of going with the flow and just going to try to play golf and just do the same thing I’ve been doing, try to keep to the same routine, talk out shots like I’ve been talking out shots. Just try to stay 100 percent committed to everything I’m doing out there.
Obviously the wind has been swirling. Tomorrow it’s not supposed to blow as much, so hopefully it will be a little less tough to judge around here tomorrow.”
Kaufman on the 69 he shot Saturday.
“Today I just kind of plodded along and made a bunch of pars and made birdies on holes that I had really good opportunities to make birdies on.
The wind was supposed to blow harder. I felt like today, and it really wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. It was right at the beginning, but there was points in the day where it kind of laid down a little bit. I don’t know if the guys this morning had it tougher than we did. I think they might have. So you know, I think there’s some opportunities to make some birdies out there and I was just putting my ball in the right position to do so today.”
Hideki Matsuyama on the benefits of experience at Augusta
“Even though the conditions are quite different this year from last year, my experience last year gave me things to work on which I have this past year and I’ve been diligent in that and again, it’s paid off this week.
I learned last year I just have to get better all around, especially my putting, and I worked hard on putting and this year, I’ve had success and putted better than I had last year – except from 15 on in today, it sure didn’t show. Hopefully, we can putt better tomorrow.”￼￼
￼Bernard Langer, 58, on whether he can win another green jacket Sunday.
“I believe I can. Obviously it depends how the others do. If I play my best, I can shoot 4‑ or 5‑under tomorrow, I think, if the conditions are a little bit better, but so can Jordan Spieth or any of the others on the leaderboard, so it all depends how the rest of the other 15 guys are in contention or 20 guys, how they do. So, I can only play my game and see how that holds up.
In the game of golf, it’s a little different. We’re not playing tennis or soccer or football, where it all comes down to speed and strength. Golf is a lot more about knowing yourself and technique, just thinking your way around the golf course and then execution.
Obviously, we all know I’m, probably, 40, 50 yards behind some of these big hitters, maybe sometimes only 30, but that’s a lot to give up, but there’s still other ways of doing it. If you hit it exactly where you want to hit it, you can still shoot under par, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
Langer on what it would mean to become the oldest major champion.
“Well, it would be one for the old guys. Tom (Watson) almost had it once (at 2009 British Open at age 59), but I know almost doesn’t count. He was extremely unfortunate not to win that tournament, but it’s just how it ended up.
I said earlier on, sooner or later, it’s going to happen. One of the over‑50s is going to win a major. We have guys right now – Davis Love, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples – these guys are still long enough to compete on any golf course.
It’s going to happen sooner or later. The guys are staying fit. They are more athletes. They are taking care of themselves. We see it amongst the young guys, but as they get older, they are going to be in better shape and it’s just a matter of time.”
Jason Day on playing with Langer
“He got the better of me, too. I just said it’s impressive, really, really impressive to watch what Bernhard did out there today, just the positions he was in compared to where I was. I mean, I can just think about 10. I had 120 yards to the pin and I’m not sure what he had, but he was at least 60 to 80 yards behind me.
And he just kept going along and knows his strengths and weaknesses.
I had a lot of fun playing with him. I could tell how great he is, how much of a competitor he is. He’s a true professional in that regard and I know he wants to compete and try and win this thing tomorrow, but we’re all trying to do the same.”
Day on his one-under 71 and being three back going into Sunday.
“The last three days have been really tough, as you know. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the most part, just trying to stay patient. It’s always hard to have the lead at a major championship with these conditions, to keep pressing forward.
So I just kept on saying to myself, just keep grinding out, just keep trying to get your birdies when you can, minimize mistakes, and just be patient with yourself and today, I was very happy with it.”
Rory McIlroy on his five-over 77.
“Just one of those days. You have to try to forget about it and move on.
To be honest with you, I would be feeling a lot worse about myself if I hadn’t have just seen what Jordan did the last two holes. I sort of take a bit of heart from that, that I’m still in this golf tournament. Standing on 17 tee, I didn’t feel I was. I was eight back.
It just shows you how fast things can happen on this golf course, especially when the conditions are like they are. The greens might not be quite as strong tomorrow, but the greens are still firm, they’re crusty, you miss it on the wrong side and you’re making life very difficult yourself.
I just need to go out there tomorrow and be aggressive. I’ve got nothing to lose. Today was my bad day and hopefully I can go out there and make up for the lack of birdies today and make double the amount tomorrow.”