Seamus Power admits he is treating the final round of The Masters as a learning experience as he looks to finish his first trip to Augusta National on a high after a third consecutive round of 74.
After nine pars on his front-nine, the Waterford man mixed three bogeys and signed off with a birdie in his latest two-over effort to fall to six-over-par on the week, however he felt there was still plenty to be pleased with during the round.
As tends to be the case with Augusta, its various contours and slopes take time getting used to – in particular on the greens where a misplaced approach shot can spell disaster – and it was optimistic to think Power would master those on his first visit.
And, accordingly, he is planning on using his fourth round to continue sussing out the famed venue ahead of future visits after another day where he didn’t quite get the bounces needed to put up a good score.
“A lot of the same. A lot of good shots, just it’s tough to make birdies out here, or at least I’m finding that anyway,” he said with a slight laugh.
“Hit a lot of good shots on the back nine, just one of those days. I didn’t hole a 20-footer to keep me in it or anything like that, so frustration. But nice to get a birdie on the last, so back tomorrow.
“Simon and I were kinda talking coming up the last few holes about what we were learning, this and that. Playing with Marc (Leishman), who’s had some good results here, just seeing what he’s doing. It’s tough going. Did a lot of good things, a few tweaks here and there.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as windy tomorrow so there could be a few chances. It’s the same thing, you’re going to try to be aggressive but you have to pick your spots. You’ll try and hit fairways on some key holes and take advantage from there, but you still have to play defensive in certain spots, so I’ll just try and put a good round together.”
The par-fives have been Power’s Achilles heel this week, having played them in a combined one-over for the three rounds, the same score he played them in on day three – although it could have been better had a fine approach on the second not hit the pin and ricocheted away.
It was the same story on the 15th where the wind caught him out and saw him fly the green, leading to a bogey, but the 35-year-old saw them as a microcosm of his week as a whole.
“I played them well today,” he said.
“Hit two good shots on 2 and I got unlucky that it ran to an awkward spot. Maybe it hit the hole, jarred over to the right. Then hit two great shots on 8 and it just rolled off the back of the green and it’s steep there. Thought I’d hit a great putt but it rolled too far for birdie and didn’t make that.”
“At 13 I hit a terrible second shot and laid up by mistake, then hit a good wedge shot. 15’s got me two days in a row. You feel like you’re standing up at the top of the hill with the wind blowing into you and I’ve hit my 7-wood the same distance as if there was no wind. I’m not even sure what I would do differently, maybe lay up.”
If Power can’t win on Sunday then he hopes there will still be an Irishman pulling on the Green Jacket, with Shane Lowry head of the pack chasing down World No.1 Scottie Scheffler at the top of the leaderboard and aiming to become the first Irish winner at Augusta.
“I sent (Shane) a text last night. I’m not going to mess with him, he’s a Major champion so he knows what he’s doing. I saw his pitch in on 10 on TV and sent him a text saying nice shot and good luck today,” revealed the Barbasol champion.
“It’d be incredible. There’s never been an Irish winner here, so it’d be pretty special. Shane has a knack of having these memorable moments in golf, so nothing surprises me with him.
“Scottie’s going to take a lot of catching, he’s in an unbelievable run of form and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be bothered by the moment. But we’ve seen guys in this position before – it isn’t easy to win here. It’s going to be a battle.”