Augusta, Ga. — Good Sunday morning from Augusta National Golf Club. It's pretty close to perfect here right now (8:22 Central) - 64 degrees with sunshine and rolling clouds.
The forecast for today is a high of 82 with a slight chance of rain mid-afternoon. Can't imagine it delaying the finish.
Wrote about Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele in the Sunday paper, and Will Zalatoris, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth in recent days.
It's hard to imagine someone from outside the top seven winning today. Spieth is in seventh place at 5-under, six shots off the lead, and if Matsuyama cracks under the pressure of playing for an entire country, Spieth is the kind of player who could catch him.
There is one player farther away from Matsuyama who intrigues me. Tony Finau has had an excellent ball-striking week. He's ninth, at 3-under. If Matsuyama backed up, Finau has the length to attack the par 5s and make a run.
He hasn't won a PGA Tour event in the continental U.S. and hasn't won anything since Puerto Rico in 2016. His putter often lets him down when he's in contention. Maybe playing from well behind on greens that are somewhat softened by rain will give him a chance.
When Finau finished third at the Twin Cities' 3M Open, he shared the PGA Tour record for the most top-10 finishes in a four-year period without a victory.
He has 37 top 10s without a victory since 2017. Nobody else has made it to 20.
He's probably about to make it 38.
As one of the nicest people on tour, you hate to see him struggle like this when under pressure, but he does.
The other player to watch outside the final pairing, for me, would be Will Zalatoris. He's hitting the ball beautifully and has a great attitude about his chances here. He's another player who may be able to dominate the par 5s. He's not known as a top putter but he's putted well enough so far this week.
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