Simpson, Finau and Cantlay make 64 the magic number for movers
AUGUSTA — Webb Simpson gave himself a pep talk heading to the seventh hole on Saturday at Augusta National.
Man, did it ever work.
Simpson played the final 12 holes at 8 under to shoot a 64 and get to 9 under for the tournament. The run boosted him into a tie for the lead late Saturday, and he was the clubhouse leader for a brief time.
“I just kind of had a talk with myself going back to 7 tee thinking about all my bad shots this week have been just some poor thinking and not being really committed to what I decided to do,” Simpson said. “I just said hey, if you stay fully committed the rest of the day, you’re swinging great, you’re putting well, you’re going to make birdies and that’s what I did.”
The clubhouse lead was brief because there were an abundance of movers on Saturday. Traditionally it’s known as moving day, but to call what happened at Augusta National on Saturday just that would be an understatement.
Simpson climbed into the mix. Tony Finau flirted with history and matched Simpson’s 64. Patrick Cantlay got things moving early as the first to post a 64 on the day.
Finau had a shot at becoming the first golfer to post a 29 on the front nine at Augusta National during the Masters, but his birdie put on No. 9 didn’t drop. He settled for a 30 on the front, but that was about all that didn’t drop for him on Saturday.
“I felt good. I’m driving the ball nicely, and on this golf course, I can attack the golf course if I’m hitting my driver well, and I have been thus far,” he said. “I felt good. Going into today, I felt calm and comfortable, and I think my score showed that.”
His bogey-free round started with three consecutive birdies. He went on to make three more and added an eagle on No. 8. He’s currently tied for second place at 11 under.
“It was a great start, and after the start it was nice to be able to make a 3 there (No. 8),” Finau said.
Cantlay climbed to 6 under and into a tie for 14th.
“I mean out of all the rounds I played here this was the easiest scoring condition wise,” Cantlay said. “I got out early and the ball was going the right distance. The wind wasn’t blowing too much, greens were soft, and the hole locations were much easier than the last few days.”
Cantlay made plenty of birdies, but he was left lamenting not making birdie or better on some of the holes he felt he should’ve.
“Yeah, I forgot to birdie the easy holes,” Cantlay said. “I just felt like I hit a bad drive on 2 and didn’t birdie 2. Made a nice par, actually.”
He also made par on No. 8 and No. 13 - also par 5s.
Rickie Fowler had a bit of a charge in him, but a late bogey dropped him back to 7 under. Fowler birdied three of his first four holes to get to 5 under. He got to 8 under with a birdie on 15, but he closed the round with a bogey on 18.
“I know I’m going to have to put up a solid round of golf tomorrow, but the biggest thing for me is just go get off to a good start, hit a bunch of fairways and let myself attack from there,” Fowler said. “We have been dealing with mud balls pretty much all week, so I’m going to pray for clean golf balls in the fairway and we’ll go at it from there.”