The Pros: Scotty Scheffler heads into Sunday with a 3-shot lead; Corey Conners T6

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Augusta, GA – There weren’t many low numbers at the Masters on Saturday, unless you factor in the temperature.

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On a cold, windy day at Augusta National, players in jackets and tuxes set out to try to track down the escaped 36-hole leader Scotty Scheffler, who is looking to win his first major championship. Scheffler apparently started the day at eight below level and wasted no time in increasing his lead, with the birds in two of his first three holes. Schaeffler left an amenable corner at 11 below par, leading with five healthy hits. For most of the day, the hottest player in the world didn’t seem to be bothered by single-digit temperatures, or by day two of high winds.

In the end, though, the world’s No. 1 25-year-old opened the door to his nearest chaser with three ghost chasers over his last five holes, shooting one under 71. He’ll head into Sunday at nine. Under par, he edged by three shots over Australian Cameron Smith.

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“It must be a great fight tomorrow,” Scheffler said. “Kam is obviously a great player, and he has a great short game. … We are both in great shape, so I am definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

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For a moment on Saturday it looked as if Schaeffler was headed for disaster on the 14th as volunteers were sent out to search the trees for his errant leadership. The ball was located, but Scheffler deemed it unplayable, then took a penalty before firing a shotgun over the pine straw green at 237 yards and saved the ghost. It’s very rare for a ghost to be an exclamation point on tour, but Scheffler has proven to be a very rare talent.

“Obviously I didn’t take a good shot,” Scheffler said of his recent drive. “We, we don’t have a big deal, just there on the left and we go out, whatever. Then we saw the guy with the flag who always panicked about the balls. I was like, oh, crap. … Luckily, they found the ball.”

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Saturday night at Schaeffler will consist of a dinner with his wife Meredith and a few episodes of The Office. He will start his Sunday hunt for the green jacket with a three-shot lead over Smith, who — playing alongside Cory Conners — shot the day’s Tour, four-under-68 to hit six below par. Smith is the only player to fall within five strokes of Scheffler and head into Sunday with confidence after taming Augusta National on Saturday, winning the Players Championship last month at TBC Sawgrass.

“I can get it done I think when I’m up against the best players in the world,” Smith said. “It feels good to have it. It happened. It was not given to you.”

First round leader Sungjae Im (71) is the only other player whose hopes of wearing green on Sunday don’t require an absolute miracle. Im swinging five strokes by four strokes in equal measure.

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Seven shots in second place are 2019 Champion Shane Lowry (73) and 2011 Masters Champion Charles Schwarzl (73). Canadian Conners and Justin Thomas completed the group of just seven sub-par players this week. Connors scored a 72nd tie on Saturday to finish 54 holes in a tie for sixth with Thomas (72).

“I played hard again, I fought hard,” Connors told Postmedia after his tour. “Yeah, I gave myself some good chances, and I felt like all parts of the game were very strong. It was very difficult there. I am happy with the way I played.”

For the second day in a row, Connors, 30, climbed toward the top of the leaderboard at the back nine, but couldn’t finish the deal, making two bogeys at the end of the end stretch. In the second round bogey 16 and 17. This time it was 5 par-5 and 25 par-4 18.

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Getting out of the peckingbird on the 14th hole to get to the Ghost of Conners on the 15th was a great adventure. Moving into the green with his second shot, he missed a lot to the right and his ball ended at the feet of a shepherd in the runway. Having earned a free drop, Connors cuts a short distance from the hole, and his subsequent shot crossed the goal away from the green, finishing on the sidelines. Two strokes later, the momentum was killing the ghost.

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“I tried to pick my spots to be aggressive and tried to put myself below par (in the tour),” he said. “I was able to do that, and stay there most of the day. Yes, two Ghost derailed a bit late. Overall, still a solid day.”

In fact, another strong day in what has become a career of strong showings at The Masters. Another day and boy from Listowel, Ont. He could claim third place in a row among the top ten in Augusta National. It’s a clear indication that the tough course suits the smooth-swinging Connors, who already has Canadian golf fans dreaming of a second green coming north of the border; However, actuarial mathematics majors such as Conners are not known for their fancy flights.

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“Finishing in the top 10 and winning are a bit different, but I love the golf course and feel my game is just right to do well here,” he said.

Connors will play his last role with Danny Willett (73) at 2:10 p.m.

For most of the rest, the circumstances proved insurmountable. In the end on Saturday, 43 of the 52 players shot above par. Canadian Mackenzie Hughes hit five on 77 after cutting the number. Hughes’ playing partner Adam Scott hit an 80, tied for the worst round of the day with Harold Varner III.

Golf fans who are waiting for the leader to kick off the Masters on Sunday can enjoy a very good bottom card with Tiger Woods and John Ram together for the final round starting at 10:50 a.m.

Hughes will play alongside Patrick Cantlie at 10:30 a.m.

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