Golfers and patrons alike endured a soaked Saturday at the Masters Tournament until play finally was halted in the middle of the afternoon.
Brooks Koepka will return to the course with a four-shot lead over Spaniard Jon Rahm — and 29-plus holes left to play — after heavy rain led to the suspension of the third round on Saturday in Augusta, Ga.
Inclement weather cut short Friday’s action, so the field returned Saturday morning to finish the second round and begin the third after a short rest, playing through a steady downpour.
Koepka, Rahm and amateur Sam Bennett made up the final threesome to go out. They had completed just six holes when Augusta National Golf Club made the decision to suspend play for the rest of the day at 3:15 p.m. ET.
“Ball’s not going anywhere. You’ve got rain to deal with, and it’s freezing cold. It doesn’t make it easy,” Koepka said. “You’ve got to make some pressure putts. You know it was going to be a difficult day. You’ve just got to grind through it and try to salvage something.”
The third round is scheduled to resume Sunday at 8:30 a.m. The final round, weather permitting, will begin at 12:30 p.m. with players teeing off at both holes 1 and 10.
Koepka was 1 under for his round and 13 under for the tournament when play was suspended. Rahm, who began the round two behind Koepka, followed an early birdie with consecutive bogeys and headed to the clubhouse at 9 under.
“I understand they’re trying to push us to play as many holes as possible, but it was very apparent when they tried to get the water out that it just wasn’t going to happen in our case,” Rahm said. “You can’t really say it was late because I don’t blame them for wanting us to play as much as possible.”
Bennett (2 over through six holes) was in third place at 6 under. Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Norway’s Viktor Hovland were tied for fourth at 5 under.
Koepka got up and down from a bunker for birdie at the par-5 second hole before stringing together four straight pars. Bennett began his round with two bogeys, and Rahm bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5, yielding a four-shot advantage to Koepka.
The trio was playing the seventh hole when the horn sounded. Bennett and Koepka had just hit out of a greenside bunker.
“That seventh green was soaked,” Koepka said. “It was very tough. I thought I hit a good bunker shot, and it looked like it just skidded on the water. So I’m glad we stopped.”
Koepka is in position to win his fifth major title after collecting two U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships between 2017 and 2019. He would surpass contemporary Rory McIlroy and tie the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Byron Nelson at five majors.
Bennett was 8-under 136 through two rounds, the second-lowest 36-hole score by an amateur in Masters history, trailing only Ken Venturi in 1956.
“I feel comfortable out there,” Bennett said. “The bogeys on 1 and 2 weren’t because of nerves. They were simply just bad swings.”
The lowest rounds going on the course belonged to Cantlay (3 under through 13) and Fitzpatrick (3 under through 11) in the tie for fourth, along with South Korea’s Sungjae Im (3 under through seven, even for the tournament).
Defending champion and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler was 2 under through 12 and 3 under for the tournament.
Tiger Woods made the cut on the number at 3 over despite finishing his second round with consecutive bogeys, tying the tournament record of 23 consecutive made cuts shared by Gary Player and Fred Couples. But Woods fell to 54th — last place — at 9 over by going 6 over through his first seven holes of the third round.
Woods started on the back nine, and after bogeys at Nos. 10 and 14, he had his approach shot at the par-5 15th roll into the water and his tee shot at the par-3 16th also find the drink, leading to two double bogeys.
–Field Level Media