Who will win the 88th Masters? Making the case for those in or near the lead on Sunday

Who will win the 88th Masters? Making the case for those in or near the lead on Sunday
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – What a board.

Scottie Scheffler, the world No. 1 and already with a champion’s locker at Augusta National, leads a bevy of superstars entering Sunday at the 88th Masters.

Here is why Scheffler, and each of his closest chasers, can win on what is expected to be a firmer and faster Augusta National:


Leading by: One shot.

Why he’ll win: He’s freaking Scottie Scheffler, and he’s making putts.

Two years ago, Scheffler “cried like a baby” in his wife Meredith’s arms as he wondered if he was ready for the moment. He went on, of course, to win the Masters, and since then he’s done nothing but establish himself as the clear-cut best player in the world.

This Sunday morning will be a little different.

Not only does Scheffler already own a green jacket, but Meredith is back in Dallas as the couple awaits their first child, due later this month. With Scheffler’s roommate this week, Sam Burns, missing the cut, he didn’t want to be in his rental house alone this weekend, so he called a few buddies to help keep him company.

“With these guys, it will be pretty easy for us not to talk about golf,” Scheffler said.

Though the Masters does not keep strokes-gained statistics, Scheffler is best ranked in average putts per hole (1.52, second behind only Patrick Reed). That’s certainly unusual for Scheffler, who sank some crucial putts on Saturday, none bigger than his 31-foot eagle make at the par-5 13th, which injected some momentum into Scheffler after a double bogey-par start to his second nine.

“I think at times last year, I’ve talked about it a decent amount, but I think I was just overthinking things,” Scheffler said. “So, it’s nice to just put the ball down and use my eyes and see that ball go into the hole. Yeah, it’s a good place to be.”

New putter gives Morikawa comfort at Masters

Collin Morikawa talks about his decision to change putters for Round 3 of the Masters and his excitement about getting back to playing some of his best golf on the biggest stage.


Trailing by: One shot

Why he’ll win: A secret revelation

Collin Morikawa didn’t exactly have loads of confidence when he arrived at Augusta National at the start of the week.

“I’ll be honest, it was a little iffy,” Morikawa said.

But midway through his practice session on Monday, Morikawa and his caddie, J.J. Jakovac, high-fived each other; they had a breakthrough with Morikawa’s swing.

Morikawa wouldn’t say what that breakthrough was, but it explains why he’s T-3 in greens hit this week after entering the Masters a shockingly 80th in strokes gained: approach. Sure, he’s rolling a new putter, but with Morikawa, he won his first two major titles thanks mostly to ball-striking.

“For the past month or so, I’ve just been kind of been hitting and hitting aimlessly, and that’s kind of hard,” Morikawa said, “but we found something.”

Morikawa, the only player in the field who has been under par all three days so far, will be paired with Scheffler on Sunday as he aims to complete the third leg of the Grand Slam.

“It always crosses your mind,” Morikawa said. “If it doesn’t cross your mind, I don’t know what the hell your mind is thinking about. You’re purposely trying to block it out. For me, I have to allow that to come. But you also have to allow yourself and learn how to think about and be present and think about where you’re at.”

Homa: ‘Going to remind myself I’m a dog’ Sunday

Max Homa reflects on the difficult conditions on Saturday at Augusta and discusses what he wants to focus on for Sunday.


Trailing by: Two shots

Why he’ll win: Iron play

There are a few reasons why Homa won’t win the green jacket on Sunday. For one, Homa’s record at Augusta National featured two missed cuts and nothing in the top 40 in four prior trips. Secondly, he’s cooled off from his seven-birdie opening round, making just two in Round 2 and zero in his third-round, 1-over 73.

“If you told me I made no birdies today, I would have thought I imploded,” Homa said.

But with hitting greens and creating opportunities imperative on Sunday, no one among the contenders has shown that ability more than Homa, who is T-1 in greens in regulation and second in proximity. Add that to Homa’s belief that despite his lack of success in majors, he’s still good on Sunday, which is proven by his six career wins on the PGA Tour.

“I came here with the gratitude and appreciation that I get to do it,” Homa said. “I’m happy I get to do it tomorrow. I’m going to remind myself I’m a dog and I’m ready for this moment.”

Aberg embracing the pressure of the Masters

Ludvig Aberg is not afraid of the spotlight that comes with being near the top of the leaderboard entering Sunday at Augusta, and he’s taking that mindset into his first final round at the Masters.


Trailing by: Three shots

Why he’ll win: He doesn’t care about history

During his Tuesday presser, Åberg was unaware that a first-timer had not won the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Fifty-four competitive holes later, Åberg hasn’t forgotten – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even for a guy making his major debut.

“I think about it all the time,” Åberg said. “I’m OK thinking about it. Obviously, I’m a competitor and I want to win tournaments. I feel very fortunate to be in this position and to be here playing golf. Yes, I don’t think you should shy away from it. I don’t think you should try to push it away. I try to embrace it, and I try to be OK with all that comes with it, I guess.”

Åberg has feasted on the par-5s for the most part with seven birdies. But he also doubled the 15th in the first round, parred it in the second round and bogeyed it on Saturday. That’s something to keep an eye on for the Masters rookie coming down the stretch on Sunday.

DeChambeau reflects on wild day at the Masters

Bryson DeChambeau breaks down the slick greens and other challenges Augusta threw at him in Round 3 of the Masters as well as his mindset for the final round.


Trailing by: Four shots

Why he’ll win: His mind

As someone who has covered DeChambeau since his college days, I’ve seen all forms of DeChambeau. This week, when DeChambeau says he’s in a better headspace, playing freer, it’s noticeable.

When DeChambeau chunked a pitch shot into the water Saturday at No. 15, doubled the hole and then bogeyed the next, the old DeChambeau would’ve exploded. But he holed out from 77 yards at No. 18 and salvaged a 3-over 75.

Sure, he’s four shots back of the world No. 1.

But if DeChambeau dials in his speed on the greens on Sunday, he likes his chances.

“It’s very difficult to chase, but I’m going to take what I can on this golf course where I can, and I’ve got to make some putts,” DeChambeau said. “If I can make some putts tomorrow, I think I can have a good opportunity.”

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 13: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round of the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Trailing by: Five shots

Why he’ll win: Avoiding mistakes

Schauffele didn’t card a bogey Saturday, curling in a 13-foot putt for par after a ridiculous, 199-yard approach shot from the right pines at the last to shoot 2-under 70.

“I told [caddie] Austin [Kaiser] after I hit it, could be the best shot I ever hit in my life,” Schauffele said of the second shot. “That’s why I was really happy to make that par putt to sort of pay off that iron shot. I had to aim at a tree and then try and cut it, and if I hit the tree it’s going to come straight back to me, like back in the forest.”

The argument can go either way with Schauffele. He hasn’t put himself in too many difficult situations this week, totaling just four bogeys through 54 holes. But he also hasn’t circled too many numbers on his cards.

Still, Schauffele owns a couple of top-3 finishes at Augusta National, so he knows how it feels being in the mix.

“I know how hard it’s playing,” Schauffele said, “and if you start to get aggressive around the property, you can pick up some shots going the wrong direction.”

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