AUGUSTA, Ga. — As one Canadian made history at Augusta National Saturday, another made the cut for the first time in six years.
Corey Conners, a 28-year-old Listowel, Ont. native started his Saturday with a 7-under 65, the lowest round ever by a Canadian at the tournament, to finish his second round. His record breaking round included eight birdies. He would follow it up with a 1-under 71 in his third round.
Conners is now tied for 15th place at 6-under par, 10 strokes behind leader Dustin Johnson at 16-under. He hopes to improve on his 2019 result, where he finished tied for 46th place.
Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, made the cut with a 1-under 71 of his own in the third round despite five bogeys on the day. It was the first time the Brights Grove, Ont. native made the cut since 2014.
The 50-year-old was the previous record holder of the lowest round ever—-a 4-under 68—-achieved by a Canadian at the Masters. He is currently in an eight-way tie for 36th place. Weir is making his 21st appearance at the Masters.
A third Canadian will play in Sunday’s final round. Nick Taylor, from Abbotsford, B.C., hit a 3-under 69 to end his day tied in 29th place. Taylor previously shot 72 in both the first and second round of the tournament.
The trio of Canadians will be without Adam Hadwin, who missed the cut. He shot a 74 and a 71 through two rounds.
Johnson, the No.1 ranked player in the world, shot a 7-under 65 in his third round as he matched the 54-hole Masters record as he holds a-shot lead.
Sunday will be the third time Johnson takes a lead into the final round of a major, along with two other majors where he was tied for the lead. His only major was the 2016 U.S. Open when he came from behind
Most recently, he had a one-shot lead at Harding Park in the PGA Championship this summer, closed with a 68 and lost to a 64 by Collin Morikawa.
Johnson capped off another bogey-free round Saturday to reach 16-under 200. That ties the record set by Jordan Spieth in 2015, when he went on to a four-shot victory over Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.
Defending champion Tiger Woods will stick around Sunday to present the green jacket, but he’ll have to leave his at Augusta National until he returns.
Woods was 4 under through 10 holes to start the Masters, and he picked up only one more shot over the next 44 holes. He finished off a 71 in the second round, had a 72 in the third round and was 11 shots behind.
It likely didn’t help the 44-year-old Woods to go 26 holes on the soft turf of a hilly course.
“It’s just part of the deal,” he said. “If you have long days like this, I’m going to get a little bit sore, which I definitely am.”
U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau was more dizzy than sore. He felt so odd on Thursday night that he had another COVID-19 test to be sure — it came back negative — and the betting favourite of this Masters was in the middle of the pack.
The scoring has been low all week. The 36-hole cut Saturday morning was at even-par 144, the lowest in Masters history, another update to the club’s record book.
Still in front of Johnson is a chance to set the 72-hole record. All he cares about is a green jacket, and given his past experience, he knows better than to look ahead.
“I feel like I’m swinging well and I’ve got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing. Everything is going well,” he said. “There’s a lot of really good players right around me. I’m going to have play aggressive when I can and play smart when I can’t.”
He was aggressive at the start. First, he drilled a 5-iron he nearly holed for an albatross on the par-5 second, leaving him a tap-in eagle. He followed that with a lofted pitch to 5 feet for birdie on No. 3, and a 40-foot birdie putt up the slope on the par-3 fourth hole as the lead began to grow.
Justin Thomas was within two shots until he made mistakes and Johnson kept going. Johnson had two-putt birdies on the par 5s on the back nine, and he hasn’t made a bogey since the sixth hole of his second round.