13 April 2019: The calm before the storm afforded for a spectacular day of golf. A motley collection of clouds hung low over Augusta National Golf Club, laying in wait patiently for the winds to bring them all together for an explosive Sunday burst. The Sun peaked through them all, providing for some of the most benign conditions all week at the 83rd Masters. Patrick Cantlay showed up from nowhere to offer a glimpse into the festive conditions and his fellow golfers pounced at it like hungry wolves. Tony Finau caught the scent and went riding like a horseman in a hurry to gain the lead, at that time.
Cantlay made four birdies on either side for a majestic 64 that flew him from 2-over at the start of the day to well inside the top twenty. Cantlay earned his stripes by sitting as the leading amateur in the world for 55 weeks before taking the low amateur honours at the US Open, as a 19-year-old in 2011. The week after that he went to the Travelers Championship to score a 60, the lowest round by an amateur in TOUR history.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but if he needed any vindication of his true potential, the round on Saturday should help him catch a break and run forward with gusto. After two rounds of 73, 64 was a nice way to climb up the order for the man who finished T6 at the WGC Mexico Championship in February.
Finau soared ahead on an eagle at the eighth hole, before sliding past the edge of the cup at the ninth to fall just short of becoming the first man to break 30 on the first nine at the Masters. The world No.15 started his day with three straight birdies and was six under through the first half of his round.
Webb Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, sprung back to life with an imposing 64 on Saturday. Scores of 72-71-64 helped him snatch the clubhouse lead midway through the third round. At 9-under he was sitting behind Finau watching his colleagues march vigorously as they sought to take advantage of the pleasant conditions.
A while later, Finau matched the effort. He was 5-under par on the par-5s with three birdies and an eagle as he came home to three straight pars in his 64.
Rickie Fowler has been knocking on the door of major glory for a while now, he was second to Patrick Reed last year at the Masters. He put himself firmly in the Sunday conversation with a brilliant 67 that moved him to 8-under through 54 holes.
There is a storm brewing in this region and the Masters made a departure from tradition to enable completion in a safe and timely manner. The final day action will begin at 0730am with groups teeing off the first and tenth tees.
The final group will get off the first tee at 0920am which should give the tournament committee an opportunity to bring the winner inside the Butler Cabin by lunchtime.