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Maggert seeks breakthrough at Masters

By DAVID MOFFIT   |   April 12, 2003 at 8:13 PM   |   Comments

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 12 (UPI) -- Jeff Maggert, a 39-year-old Texan, has been in contention in a number of major golf championships, but keeps coming up short.

So it is easy to see why he is anxious as he goes into Sunday's final round of the Masters with a two-shot lead.

"Tomorrow's going to be, obviously, new for me," he said. "I have been in a position to maybe win a major championship, certainly a couple of U.S. Opens. I feel good at where I am now, but I have a lot of work to do tomorrow."

Maggert was third in last year's Open and has had two fourth place finishes as well. He also was third twice in the PGA Championship.

"I have struggled so much with my golf game and emotions, the way I've handled my poor play the last couple of years, it's probably helped me in the long run," said Maggert, who vaulted from seven shots behind into the lead with a third-round 66 Saturday. "There's nobody out there I can control tomorrow except myself.

"I need to play well and hit good golf shots. If I do that, I'll have an excellent chance."

Maggert has not done all that well in previous Masters. He did tie for seventh in 1996, but he was never better than 20th in his eight other appearances and he missed the cut in four of those.

"I'm just thinking more about the work I need to do Sunday and not worrying about trying to win the golf tournament," he said.

Maggert suffered a double-bogey at the Augusta National Golf Club's 11th hole Saturday that shoved him five shots behind Canadian Mike Weir. Maggert then birdied five of the closing six holes while Weir posted four back-nine bogeys.

"It should be easy to carry over the momentun," he said. "I finally started hitting some good golf shots, especially on the back nine. I hit the ball solid and it's nice to look up and see the ball going towards the pin. If I hit the ball in the fairway tomorrow and hit some good iron shots, I feel like I can shoot another good round."

Maggert said he was not surprised to find himself leading the Masters after three rounds.

"I thought the golf course was playing into my hands this week," he said. "I felt like today was my best opportunity to shoot a low score (after going 72-73 the first two rounds). I just tried to go out and shoot good score and give myself a chance for Sunday's round.

"Obviously, Sunday is when it all happens. The confidence is probably about the best that I've ever felt going into the last round of a golf tournament and certainly a major championship."

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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