8 surprising golfers who missed the cut at the 2023 Masters
They may have gotten a little extra time thanks to Mother Nature, but for 31 golfers, their 2023 Masters ended Saturday.
As the delayed second round finished up Saturday morning, the field was trimmed to the top 50 and ties, with the cutline ending up at three-over 147.
While Tiger Woods did end up sneaking in, several players such as former champions Sandy Lyle and Larry Mize, who were making their final trips around Augusta National this week, did not. But that was expected.
Some of the other golfers sent home early were more shocking. Here are eight golfers who missed the midway cut this week, ranked in order of how surprised we were to see them fail to contend.
8. Sergio Garcia
What he shot: 74-77 (+7)
Why it’s surprising: The 2017 champion actually only made the cut for the first time since his dramatic win in 2022. He had the weekend off for three-straight years (he missed the 2020 Masters with COVID) from 2018 to 2021. He’s had moderate success on the LIV Golf Tour since leaving the PGA Tour, finishing ninth in the season-long points race in 2022 and has five top-10s in 10 events.
7. Min Woo Lee
What he shot: 75-75 (+6)
Why it’s surprising: The Aussie was riding high coming off his surprise T6 finish in the Players Championship that earned him enough World Ranking points to break into the top 50 and qualify for his second Masters. He finished T14 at Augusta last year, but won’t be able to do the same in 2023 after failing to recover from four bogeys on his first nine Friday.
6. Kurt Kitayama
What he shot: 75-77 (+8)
Why it’s surprising: The World No. 20 and winner earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came into this week off another good finish, making the quarterfinals at the Match Play. But his solid sophomore season on the PGA Tour takes a hit with a missed cut at his first Masters appearance.
5. Tom Hoge
What he shot: 74-74 (+4)
Why it’s surprising: Hoge made his first Masters appearance last year and made the cut with a forgettable 73-74-75-73 week. However, the 33-year-old has been playing the best golf of his career the past two years and set the course record at TPC Sawgrass earlier this year with a 62. That week he nearly left the course, thinking he missed the cut. There was no such waiting game this week.
4. Bryson DeChambeau
What he shot: 74-74 (+4)
Why it’s surprising: This isn’t so surprising given DeChambeau hasn’t finished better than 10th in any LIV Golf event since joining the circuit. It’s more surprising because only three years ago, DeChambeau now-infamously claimed Augusta National was a par-67. Since then he’s a combined 19 over in 12 rounds at ANGC (79 over if you use his math) and missed the last two cuts.
3. Corey Conners
What he shot: 73-79 (+8)
Why it’s surprising: The Canadian was a trendy pick to begin the week, having won last week’s Valero Texas Open and finished top-10 in the previous three Masters. He was on the projected cutline as he rounded Amen Corner Friday at two over but finished double-bogey-birdie-double-bogey-bogey to sink any chances at a fourth-straight top-10.
2. Justin Thomas
What he shot: 70-78 (+4)
Why it’s surprising: Thomas was having an up-and-down season, still winless since his triumph at Southern Hills last May, but he’s logged two top-10s in Phoenix and Tampa. He opened with a solid two-under 70, but appeared to get the worst of the draw as he had to play the final eight-and-a-half holes Saturday morning in the worst of the weather.
He played his final eight in six over and controlled the cutline along with Sungjae Im as the final two groups finished. Had he bogeyed at least one of the final two holes, he would have moved the cutline but still made it, at three over. He bogeyed both and will head home. He had made seven-straight cuts here coming in.
1. Rory McIlroy
What he shot: 72-77 (+5)
Why it’s surprising: The co-favorite coming into the week with Scottie Scheffler, McIlroy looked at the top of his game with his third-place finish at the Match Play.
The World No. 2 never looked like the same player from two weeks ago as he battled his way to a 72 on Thursday. Then he fell apart to start the second round with five bogeys in his first 11 holes. The five-over-par start sends last year’s runner-up packing and his attempt at the career grand slam will have to wait until next April.
It’s the first time both McIlroy and Thomas have missed the cut in the same major in their 29th appearance together.
The only good thing for McIlroy this week is he had already finished his second round Friday before play was suspended and probably didn’t stick around for Saturday.