Editor’s note: this story was published moments before Augusta National announced the third round would resume Sunday at 8.30am local time (10.30pm Sunday AEST). Then, the final round will start at 12.30pm (2.30am Monday AEST) from two tees and in threesomes.
Augusta National officials suspended a waterlogged third round at the Masters for the rest of the day after Brooks Koepka increased his lead over Jon Rahm.
With a fifth career major in his sights, Koepka picked up a birdie on the par-5 second on Saturday to climb to 13 under par. He managed six holes before the play was suspended for the rest of the day at 3.15pm local time (5.15am Sunday AEST).
Koepka had a four-shot lead over 2021 US Open winner Rahm when officials stopped play at water-logged Augusta National. He will have to play a marathon 29 holes Sunday if he wants to add a Masters green jacket to a trophy cabinet that includes two US Opens and two PGA Championships.
“I’m not too concerned about playing 29 holes or however many holes we’ve got left,” Koepka said. “It’s part of the deal. I’m pretty sure I’ll be up for it considering it is the Masters. So I don’t think anybody should have a problem with that.”
Former world No.1 Jason Day was the leading Australian, but he dropped a shot through seven holes and was a distant nine shots behind Koepka at four under. Reigning Open champion Cameron Smith was one under, having made double-bogey at the par-3 12th. Smith was playing with fellow Australian and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott, who sat at even par.
Scott and Smith have five holes to play in their third rounds.
Earlier, 39 players had to return Saturday morning to finish their second rounds, and for the third round officials sent out the field in threesomes from two tees. The third round began Saturday morning and the final group of Koepka, Rahm (nine under) and amateur sensation Sam Bennett (six under) had finished six holes. After more than seven hours of driving rain, play was abandoned when the greens were pooling water.
When play was called, Koepka faced a short par putt on the par-4 seventh with a canal of water visible on the green behind him.
Fortunately, the weather forecast looks much better for the final day’s play.
Having won last week’s LIV Golf International Orlando, Florida, Koepka has gone 29 holes without making a bogey.
Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland are all five under and eight shots behind Koepka.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods made his 23rd consecutive Masters cut on the number at three over to equal the record held by Fred Couples (1983-2007) and Gary Player (1959-82).
But the 15-time major winner then capitulated in the rain. The 47-year-old Woods made double bogey on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th in the third round to plummet to nine over. Woods was last on the leaderboard of 54 players. The 1992 Masters winner Couples, however, became the oldest man to make the cut at the Masters.