Nicolai Hojgaard goes from late third-round Masters leader to tied for 5th after five bogeys

They say the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. For Nicolai Hojgaard from Denmark, it may have ended on Saturday.

For one brief moment with the sun starting to duck below the tall Georgia pines, Hojgaard surged into sole possession of the third-round lead at the Masters after stringing together birdies at 8, 9 and 10.

And then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.

The world’s 38th-ranked player bogeyed the next five holes, beginning at the famed Amen Corner, and shot 40 on the back nine for a 2-over 74 to fall to 2-under 214, leaving him five shots behind leader and playing partner Scottie Scheffler. That will make it difficult for Hojgaard to become the first Masters newcomer to win at Augusta National since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Hojgaard has never won a PGA Tour event, let alone a major so pressure may have been a factor.

He said he never knew he was in the lead.

“You try to stop the bleeding a little bit,” Hojgaard said. “If I knew how to do it, I probably would have done it. … The course is playing tricky. I was in a period of my game where it was a little bit tricky.”

Hojgaard said all he can do now is make some birdies Sunday.

“At the moment, it’s all over the place,” Hojgaard said about his mindset heading into Sunday. “But I’ve got to regroup, got to go out and do my best tomorrow. There’s been a lot of good stuff these days.”

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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