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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Shuffling patrons early on Sunday at the Masters

Augusta, Ga.

I arrived at Augusta National at about 6 a.m. on Sunday and wandered down to the driving range. There, I saw Bryson DeChambeau working on his putting with a coach and an alignment aid.

I headed back to the press center and saw something unusual. The gates had just opened, at 7 a.m. Eastern time, and a row of white shirts were marching toward me, taking up the entire width of the paved walkway. A security guard saw me coming and said, ``You don’t want to go that way.’’

The white-shirted security guards were slow-walking, trying to keep the first wave of fans - ``patrons’’ in Masters lingo - from rushing onto the course to claim the best places on the course.

There is no running at Augusta National, and this rule was being physically enforced.

The mass of humanity behind the white shirts would have been frightening in another setting. But this is The Masters, and ``patrons’’ know they must behave or a lush, green, trap door will open beneath them and they will never be seen again.

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Rounds are starting at 7:30 Eastern, with the leaders going off at 9:20 Eastern. The Masters is trying to beat a weather front that was expected to arrive around 3 p.m.

By Sunday morning, the forecasts indicated that the front is now going to arrive around 2 p.m. (all times Eastern.)

If the leaders take five hours to play, they will be finishing as the weather is worsening. The Masters desperately wants to finish on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how bad the weather has to get for the bosses here to suspend play.

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Tiger Woods has never come from behind to win a major. He’ll try to do so today.

One side note: He did come from behind on a Sunday to win a major - in his last victory at The Masters. Because of weather delays in 2005, Tiger started Sunday out of the lead but, with the remaining holes of the third round, had taken the lead by the time the final round began.

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Francesco Molinari has made one bogey in this tournament.

Noone has ever made fewer than five bogeys while winning The Masters. Francesco Molinari has made one bogey this week.

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You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com

Souhan: Iowa's Zach Johnson hits a clunker of a shot, but no harm, no foul

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Minnesota lacks a local angle at The Masters, unless you want to include Iowa.

Let’s include Iowa.

Iowegian Zach Johnson is a two-time major winner who is also down-to-earth and self-deprecating. During an epic second round on Friday, he hit the oddest shot of the day.

He took a practice swing on the 13th tee and accidentally hit his ball. It clanged off a the tee marker to his right and caromed forward.

``Yeah, that was a good one there,’’ he said. ``That’s a first. I thought I had done it all but now I know I’ve done it all. Shoot, they got that?’’

He asked because the 13th tee box is the rare place at Augusta National where there are no patrons. The television cameras are not noticeable.

``Even when I try to slice it, I still hook it,’’ he said. ``That’s kind of the joke in the group. I mean, toe push into the tee marker and then, you know, i twas a nice little four-foot draw, it turned out. So, yeah.

``I can’t think of a time I’ve done it. I mean, not on purpose. I mean, maybe I tried to do it. I don’t think I could do it again if I even tried. Yeah.’’

Because he didn’t make contact intentionally, there was no penalty. Johnson finished the second round at 3-over.

He just began his third round and birdied No. 2.

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If the weather reports are accurate, there will be a constant threat of rain all day on Saturday and Sunday morning with a chance of harder rain and winds on Sunday afternoon.

We may be in for a Monday finish.

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You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com

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