The Masters: Bubba Watson's optimistic amid talk of 'crazy fast' greens

— Say this for Bubba Watson: He has a positive attitude.

Despite shooting a two-over-par 74 in Saturday's third round of the Masters, the 2012 champion called it "all in all, a good day."

"The greens were the firmest I'd seen in years," Watson said. "I'm not too worried about what went on … and if I play bad [Sunday], I still have a green jacket."

Watson, who holds a share of the 54-hole lead at five under, left a flurry of putts short Saturday and three-putted two greens — two more than he had Thursday and Friday combined.

But he plans to sleep that off, as he did Friday.

"I went to bed at 11 [p.m.], and my alarm went off at 10:05" in the morning, he said. "I'll sleep as much as possible [again] because I know the final round will be draining."

Much of that drain will come from speedy greens that Matt Kuchar called "a bit on the frightening side."

Added co-leader Jordan Spieth: "It was crazy, crazy fast out there. I've never putted on greens like this."

That escalated quickly: No player had more of a roller-coaster ride Saturday than Gary Woodland, whose eagle at the par-five second hole ignited a front-nine 30 that helped him move from three over when the day began to four under after 46 holes.

"I was slowing down a little bit, trying to catch my breath," Woodland said. "I was in a groove. I had it going."

Woodland's 30 also tied the Masters record for lowest front nine, most recently recorded by Phil Mickelson in 2009. But the 29-year-old Kansas native sprung a small leak on the back nine and settled for a 69, pushing him into 14th place at even par.

Non-competitor beats McIlroy

Search through the leaderboard and you won't find the one-shot victory Jeff Knox claimed over his playing partner, Rory McIlroy. The latter, the world's ninth-ranked player, shot a one-under 71 Saturday. Knox, an Augusta National member and a non-competing marker sent out to pace McIlroy, carded a 70.

Said McIlroy: "He played just like he should be playing in the Masters. … I thought he was going to be nice and three-putt the last and we'd have a half. But he beat me by one. He obviously knows this place so well and gets it lined. And I don't think I've ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does around here."


The lowlight of Brandt Snedeker's third-round 80 was a five-putt quadruple bogey at the par-three fourth hole. Adding to the sting, Snedeker's first putt came from inside five feet. … Fred Couples, 54, aiming to post his fifth consecutive top-15 Masters finish, is tied for 10th at one under.

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