2014 Masters: Bubba Watson Opens the Door for a New Champion

Bubba Watson Masters

Getty Images

After dominating the back nine of Augusta National in round two on Friday, former Masters champion Bubba Watson slowed a bit on day three, opening the door for a new champion. As the day began, Watson’s three-stroke lead was very secure and he seemed to be on his way to his second green jacket in the past three years.

Unfortunately for Watson, he seemed out of sorts all day, making mistakes that he was able to avoid in his first two rounds. After shooting only two bogies over the first two days of the tournament, Watson carded five bogies on day three. The day started out rough for Watson as he shot a five on the par-4 first hole. He would temporarily dispel thoughts of a collapse as he shot an eagle on the par-5 second hole. After a booming opening drive, Watson seemed to find the magic he had captured over the first two rounds as he dropped his approach shot within 10 feet of the pin, setting up a nice eagle put.

This was the highlight of the round for Watson, though, as he struggled to simply finish his round with a two-over-par 74 to bring him back down to five-under for the tournament and into a first-place tie with 20-year-old first-time Masters participant Jordan Spieth. The latter was able to shoot an impressive third round with only one bogey on the day, finishing with a second-straight two-under-par 70 to bring his tournament total to five-under overall.

Also closing the gap behind Watson were first-time Major winning hopefuls Jonas Blixt and Matt Kuchar. both of whom are sitting one stroke behind the leaders at four-under for the tournament. In total, there are 13 players within four strokes of the leaders heading into the final day of this edition of the Masters, which should lead to a very thrilling finish.

Mike Cuddy is a Chicago Bears writer for Follow him on Twitter @MikeCuddy, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.