WIN or lose, Jason Day and Adam Scott will share their experience of the 2011 US Masters final round at Augusta National early Monday.
The two Australian golfers will hit off together in the third last group and both need to do something special, and have leader Rory McIlroy help their cause, if either is to become the first from this country to win a Masters green jacket.
Day has shown composure far beyond his 23 years so far in the tournament and his even par 72 in the third round sees him four behind McIlroy, who finished on 12-under.
Day is tied in second place with Argentine Angel Cabrera (67), South African Charl Schwartzel (68) and Korean K.J. Choi (71), all on eight-under.
“I didn’t know I was leading until I walked down (hole) six and saw my name on the leaderboard,” Day said. “It was very short-lived. I didn’t play myself out of the tournament. I could have played better but I’m very happy with where I am.
“I felt pretty good, had a good warm up and came out of the gates firing. There were a few mental errors and I didn’t hole the putts that I did yesterday but I didn’t feel like I played too differently. I made a few disappointing choices.”
Scott and his new broomstick putter roared into contention with a five-under par 67 that matched the lowest round of the day while Day briefly took the lead with a hat-trick of birdies after the fifth hole.
“I struggled for my rhythm the first couple of days but today on the range it fell into place,” Scott said. “I got off to a good start, which is something I seem to struggle with here.
“To get a couple of birdies in early and then keep the momentum going into the back nine was nice and certainly what I needed to do.”
Geoff Ogilvy is the other Australian in the top ten after a one-over 73 saw him tied for 9th along with Tiger Woods (74), Fred Couples (72), Bubba Watson (67) and Ross Fisher (71).
Ogilvy will play in the sixth last group with Couples and with seven strokes to make up on the leader either will need something approaching a miracle to win. But in golf, particularly at Augusta National, such things sometimes happen.
If it can’t be an Aussie, it would be hard not to cheer for 21 year old McIlroy to take his first title and be the youngest Masters Champions since Tiger Woods in 1997.
Jason Day knows it is going to be hard to beat the Northern Irishman.
“Rory, the way he’s hitting the ball, he can shoot a couple under-par I think and probably win,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on us to make some birdies early and put some pressure on him.”
Australian television coverage on Ten an One HD starts at 4am AEST.