Scheffler in charge as Woods faces another Masters test

AUGUSTA  -  World number one Scottie Scheffler will take a commanding five- shot lead into the Masters third round on Saturday while Tiger Woods faces yet another challenge in his comeback from a car crash that nearly cost him his right leg.

Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes and Australia’s Adam Scott got play started under sunny skies but in unusually cool conditions with temperatures barely breaking into the 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). The cold represents another hurdle for Woods who is playing his first competitive event in 508 days and sits nine behind Scheffler but confident he is still in the chase for what would be a record-equalling sixth Green Jacket.

Having had to contend with Augusta National’s undulating layout and severe winds on Friday, the 46-year-old Woods’s damaged leg will now be put to the test by the cold. “I’m four shots back at second,” said Woods after a battling two-over 74 on Friday. “That’s the thing. It’s going to be windy (Saturday). It’s going to be cool.

“It’s going to be the Masters that I think the Masters Committee has been looking forward to for a number of years.” It is not just Woods who needs to mount one of his famous Saturday charges if Scheffler, the hottest golfer on the planet with three PGA Tour wins in his last five starts, is to be reeled in.

The 25-year-old American, even with a five-stroke cushion, cannot afford to get complacent being chased by trio of major winners including South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 winner at Augusta National, Irishman Shane Lowry the 2019 British Open winner, and defending Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan. Also five back is South Korea’s Im Sung-jae , the first-round overnight leader.

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