The golfers who will be challenging Lee Westwood for first place and the green jacket donâ€™t get started until around 2:00 pm ET. There are a handful of golfers that are within five-strokes of Westwood (-12), including; Phil Mickelson (-11), Tiger Woods (-8), K.J. Choi (-8), and Fred Couples (-7).
Rounding out the top-ten heading into the final round today are Ricky Barnes (-6), Ian Poulter (-6), Hunter Mahan (-6), Y.e. Yang (-5), and Anthony Kim (-5).
In case you are wondering who pulled of the greatest comeback in Masters history, Jack Burke headed into the final round tied for fourth, eight-strokes behind leader Ken Venturi in 1956. It wasnâ€™t so much that Burke won, but more that Venturi lost. Burke shot a final round of 71, finishing with a score of 289 for his four rounds. Venturi ended up shooting a final round 80 and finished with a score of 290, one stroke behind Burke.
It is possible for anyone of the golfers in the top-ten to make a strong push today and move up the leaderboard, but they will need help from Westwood and Mickelson to lose some strokes. After watching what happened in a stretch of 27-minutes with Mickelson yesterday, where he pulled off back-to-back eagles and nearly three in a row, it is hard to imagine that Phil isnâ€™t favored to win heading into today.
Westwood and Ian Poulter were tied after atop the leaderboard after 36 holes at -8. Westwood went out and did what he needed to do to remain on top of the leaderboard, while Poulter struggled most of the day and finished the day tied for sixth, six-strokes behind Westwood.
What about Tiger?
Tiger has played solid through the first 54 holes, leaving him in a position to make a move on Sunday and capture his 15th major championship, but the odds are against him.
Tiger has never won a major tournament when trailing heading into the final round. When Woods last won the Masters in 2005, he started the final round with a three-shot lead over Chris DiMarco. DiMarco nearly led the tournament from wire-to-wire, until Woods caught fire.
Play was suspended during the third round on that Saturday due to darkness. Chris DiMarco (-13) was a comfortable four-strokes ahead of Woods (-9) with nine holes left to finish up Sunday morning before the final round. The conclusion of that third round saw Woods birdie his first four holes, while DiMarco struggled finishing his third round.
Before the final round started, the leaderboard had changed and Woods (-11) was on top of DiMarco (-8) with a three-stroke lead. Woods ended the day shooting a one-under 71 and DiMarco shot a three-under 68 to force a playoff, which Woods would win on the first hole.
The 2005 Masters is just an example of how capable Woods is at winning the tournament, so even though he isnâ€™t in the lead or tied for the lead and considering all that has transpired over the last five months, he is in the hunt for his fifth green jacket.
Over the last five years, Woods best final round score was last year when he shot a 68. If he does want to win his fifth Masters, he will need to play the best Masters final round of his career.
Can Phil pull of it off?
Phil Mickelson put together one of the best three-hole performances in Masters history yesterday when he eagled 13, eagled 14 and birdied 15 to move into first place for a brief time, before bogeying 17 and finishing Saturday at -11, one-stroke behind Westwood.
If Phil is able to put together another round of 67 today, he will be in good shape making the walk back to the clubhouse. Phil finished last yearâ€™s tournament by shooting a final round of 67 and started this yearâ€™s tournament by shooting an opening round 67.
If Mickelson can avoid having a disaster like the one at Winged Foot during the final two holes of the 2006 U.S. Open, he should be right where he wants to be by the end of the day; putting on his third green jacket in seven years.
Will Lee Westwood finish first?
The leader heading into today, Lee Westwood has had the spotlight taken off of him for much of the tournament, but that will all change today. Westwood is paired with Mickelson in the final pairing to tee off today for the first time in his career. Before this year, Westwoodâ€™s best finish at the Masters was in 1999 when he tied for sixth place. Last year, Westwood finished in 43rd place at the Masters.
The last time a player from England won the Masters was in 1996 when Nick Faldo won his third green jacket. Faldo won back-to-back Masters in 1989 and 1990, both on playoff holes.
Westwood has one win in his career on the PGA tour, winning the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic, and he is 10th all-time with 20 wins on the European Tour. Westwood was named the European Tour Golfer of the Year in 2009, and will be looking to add to his resume with a green jacket today.
Westwood definitely has a chance to win his first major if he is able to maintain the play that he has through the first three rounds, posting scores of 67, 69 and 68. Playing in the lead didnâ€™t seem to affect him yesterday as he finished the day with a one-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson.
Today will be one of the most exciting final rounds in Masters history. There are so many story lines to follow and players to watch for.
Can Tiger overcome all of his personal issues to win his fifth Masters, first since 2005 and 15th major overall?
Can Phil play the way he needs to without having a blowup hole to take him out of contention?
Can Lee Westwood hold onto the lead to win his first major and become the first player from England to win the Masters since 1996?
Will fan favorite Fred Couples make a push to move up the leaderboard into contention?
Could K.J. Choi or Y.e. Yang make a move to become the first Korean-born Masters winner?
photo courtesy of news.bbc.co.uk