AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s a bunched race for the Silver Cup as all four amateurs who made the cut at the Masters are within four shots of each other.
Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland leads the way after a second consecutive 71. The Norwegian sits at 2-under 214, one-stroke ahead of Takumi Kanaya, who carded six birdies en route to a third-round 68.
“I hit a lot of good shots,” said Hovland, “but I hit some really bad shots as well, so unfortunately I wasn’t consistent enough to shoot a really low number, but I’m proud that I was able to kind of grind it out.”
This marks the first time since 1999 that four amateurs have played the weekend at Augusta. Three of the four amateurs broke par on Saturday, with UCLA’s Devon Bling posting a 71 for a 2-over 218. Alvaro Ortiz rounded out the foursome with a 73, giving him a tally of 217.
“I guess we got a good group of ams this year,” said Bling. “I mean they’re all good players, we’re all, we all did something to deserve being here and I think it just speaks for itself.”
Kanaya followed in the footsteps of compatriot Hideki Matsuyama at Tohoku Fukushi University. After Kanaya won the Asia-Pacific Amateur, Matsuyama reached out to tell the 20-year-old that he looked forward to playing a practice round with him at Augusta National.
They played two rounds together this week.
Matsumaya called to congratulate Kanaya after he made the cut.
“He showed me where to attack in some of the places,” said Kanaya, who matched Matsuyama’s score of 68 on Saturday. Kanaya said he has two years left of school before he will graduate and turn professional.
Bling, playing in his first professional start, had a wild third round with six birdies and five bogeys.
“I’m hitting the ball incredibly well,” said Bling. “I’m shaping it both ways with my irons. I didn’t drive it as well today as the last few days, but still drove it pretty well and, but ball striking and putting and chipping, I’m very confident in it.”