Will Hanson go the way of Norman, Maggert, McIlroy?
Stuart Appleby, Jeff Maggert, Lee Westwood, Tom Lehman, Rory McIlroy, Greg Norman. Those are some of the players who held third round leads in the Masters and lost. Is Peter Hanson destined to join them?
The pressure on the 34-year-old is immense. No player from Sweden has ever won a major championship. On Sunday he plays in the final group with three-time winner Phil Mickelson, who trails by one stroke. Another player with a major championship on his resume (Louis Oosthuizen) is two back.
Hanson admitted to his discomfort, telling the Golf Channel that he expected it will be a difficult night and referencing Rory McIlroy’s collapse last year. Meanwhile, Mickelson has been telling everyone with a microphone how much he loves playing in the final group in the final round of the Masters. He is embracing the moment. Hanson is not.
Most of the third-round leaders who have gone on to win have names like Woods and Mickelson. But four years ago, Trevor Immelman – with no experience as a third-round leader in a major – went from leading by two strokes to winning by three. He shot a final-round 75, but none of his pursuers made a run, in part, because it was a day of brutal conditions.
Will Hanson hang tough or fold? His best finish in a major is a T7 at last year’s U.S. Open. But he has found something this year working with swing coach Gary Gilchrist, better known for guiding women’s star Yani Tseng. This year, Hanson has finished second in the Qatar Masters and in the top-5 in the last two WGC events. He joined the PGA Tour for the first time last month.