Twin Cam challenge intact at The Masters - PGA of Australia

Twin Cam challenge intact at The Masters

Australian pair Cam Davis and Cameron Smith remain in the hunt to become their country’s second Masters champion on a day of wild fluctuations at Augusta National Golf Club.

Davis burst out of the blocks with birdies at two of his opening three holes but dropped four shots after the turn in a third round of 1-over 73.

Smith is among just a handful of players without an over-par round through 54 holes, his second straight round of even par 72 putting him in a tie for ninth and six shots off the lead.

There are just five players between Davis and the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round, his 2-under par total enough to earn a share of sixth and five back of 2022 Masters champion and world No.1 Scottie Scheffler (71).

Conceding he may have paid the price for being slightly too aggressive after making the turn, Davis vowed to give Aussie golf fans back home something to cheer for when they awake in the early hours of Monday morning.

“I’m trying my hardest. It’s hard out there, but I’m giving it everything I’ve got,” said Davis, who is making just his second start at The Masters.

“I feel like today I wasn’t laying up, and I was giving it a good crack. Tomorrow hopefully we’ll make the right decisions in the moments and come away with a round that’s as good as we can make it.

“I’m trying, but it would be awesome to have a great day tomorrow.”

Just three strokes off the lead after his early birdies, Davis made double-bogey on 10 when he lost his tee shot left and was forced to chip out to return to the fairway.

He hit a perfect tee shot on 11 but left his approach shot short and right, unable to get up-and-down to drop another shot.

Davis came up short also with his second into the par-5 13th, finding Rae’s Creek on his way to bogey to drop to 1-under but got that shot back with a birdie from 10 feet on 14.

For the second time in three holes he hit a ball in the water, his second into 15 bouncing off the front of the green and trickling back into the pond. Thankfully he was able to get up-and-down to end the day within five of the lead.

“I was trying to make it happen on a couple of the par-5s and it didn’t,” Davis admitted.

“Just a few poorly executed shots turned it into a little bit of a mess for a little while there.

“I’m still in pretty good spirits despite not having my best stuff today. It will be fine. I’m looking forward to getting back out here as trying again as soon as I can.”

Seeking to join Adam Scott (2013) as Australia’s only Masters champion, Smith had 16 pars, a birdie at three and bogey on 18 to stay inside the top 10 with one round to play.

Renowned for his proficiency with the putter, Smith cut a frustrated figure after a day in which birdie putts refused to fall.

“I don’t think I hit bad putts; I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” said the 2022 Open champion.

“I probably hit a bad putt there on the last to be fair. Other than that, I can’t think of one that I’d want to have again.

“Just kind of frustrating. I feel like my game’s in a really good spot and I’ve done everything right and not much has gone right.”

Despite facing a six-shot deficit, Smith knows all too well that ground can be made up quickly on Sunday at Augusta.

“I think I’m still in the golf tournament,” said Smith.

“The way that the golf course is playing, I feel really confident with my ball-striking, probably the best I’ve felt in a while.

“I feel like I’m in the golf tournament. It’s only one or two their way and one or two my way, and it’s really close.”

Only Chris Kirk (68) and Collin Morikawa (69) went lower than Adam Scott on Saturday, the Queenslander climbing into a tie for 26th with a round of 2-under 70 after making the cut on the number.

West Australian Min Woo Lee dropped into a tie for 41st with a round of 3-over 75, one stroke to the better of fellow Aussie Jason Day (76) who is tied for 45th at 8-over.

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