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Scheffler, Homa, DeChambeau share Masters lead

Max Homa Max Homa - The Canadian Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Max Homa figures if he can conquer the mental task of playing well in a group with Tiger Woods for 36 holes at the Masters, he can accomplish pretty much anything in golf.

That includes winning his first major championship.

Homa was tied for the lead at 6-under 138 with world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau heading into Saturday's third round at Augusta National.

The 33-year-old Homa is no stranger to winning. He has six PGA Tour victories and another on the European tour. He's ranked 11th in the world.

But his resume in majors is a little thin. His best finish is a tie for 10th last year at the British Open, where he never had a realistic chance of winning.

Homa concluded his first-round on 67 Friday morning to leave him two shots shot back of DeChambeau through 18 holes. That was the first time he had ever been in the top five after a round at a major. His second-round 71 in tough conditions later Friday was enough to move him into a tie for the lead.

If he can maintain his form for another 36 holes, he could win his first major and elevate his standing in the game.

“I feel like I showed a bit of moxie the last couple days, especially yesterday the first few holes playing with Tiger in front of a lot of people at the Masters," Homa said. “And I played some great golf. So I know I have that one in me. I’d like to see if I have the mental discipline for a whole week.”

The cerebral, introspective Homa, who has taken to writing daily in his journal, is trying not to get caught up in the moment.

He's been thinking this week about the movie “Hoosiers,” in which basketball coach Norman Dale, played by Gene Hackman, has his starstruck small-town players measure the height of the basket at the large arena that's hosting the state championship. The point is to illustrate that while the venue might be bigger, the game is the same.

“The hole is the same size,” Homa pointed out.

Homa isn't the only player seeking a life-changing victory.

He was among four players within four shots of the lead who were seeking their first major title.

Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard was 4 under, Australia's Cameron Davis was 3 under and Sweden's Ludvig Aberg was 2 under. Whether any of them can win on golf's biggest stage remains uncertain.

Aberg is in a unique situation.

He's trying to become the first Masters rookie to win since Fuzzy Zoeller did it 45 years ago.

He's relying heavily on veteran caddie Joe Skovron to help him navigate Augusta, all while trying to relish the opportunity to play in the Masters. Aberg, who turned pro last spring after a standout college career at Texas Tech, is playing in his first major.

“Once you’re over the ball, once you’re making the decisions of what you want to do, that’s when you’re in tournament mode,” Aberg said. “Once you’re done with that, it's back to soaking it in and try to enjoy the walk as much as I can.”

Davis brought his wife, parents, brother, aunts and uncles to Augusta. He said he's not paying attention to the scoreboard, but said they sure are.

And then there is Xander Schauffele, a perpetual bridesmaid in golf's top four tournaments with top-three finishes at the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, along with a top 10 at the PGA Championship.

Schauffelle was at even par through 36 holes, six shots back.

Cameron Young and Tommy Fleetwood, each ranked within the top 14 in the world, were hanging around at 1 under.

“Tomorrow will be different than a regular tour event,” Homa said.


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