- Associated Press - Monday, April 9, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Peter Hanson endeared himself to weekend duffers everywhere with his shank off the 12th tee.

Didn’t do much for his chances at the Masters, however.

The third-round leader opened with two bogeys in his first three holes Sunday, and could never get anything going. He wound up in a four-way tie for third with Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. The group finished at 280, two strokes behind Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

“It was,” Hanson said, “a pretty tough day.”

Hey, at least he and the rest of the gang had a front-row seat for the fun down the stretch.

“I’ve been in there a couple times nearly the last four years and it’s a great experience,” Westwood said. “When the weather is like this, there is nowhere quite like it, I don’t think.”

Hanson lost his overnight lead in a hurry with those two bogeys. Then came that massive shank on 12; it was hit so poorly it didn’t come anywhere close to Rae’s Creek, instead landing in that grassy area usually reserved for provisional shots. On 16, he hit his tee shot to 4 feet only to miss the birdie putt.

He did make birdies on two of his last four holes, but he’d been left behind long before that.

“It was a good test of emotion, how I can handle myself,” Hanson said. “It was still a new situation for me playing the last group and playing with Phil. I felt like it worked out pretty good, but like I said, I think your weaknesses show a little bit when you come under pressure.”

Any chances Westwood had at removing that “best player never to win a major” probably ended Friday with his double bogey on 18. Oh, he made a run at it, making four birdies in his last six holes, including three straight on Nos. 13-15.

But it’s hard to dig out of a hole at Augusta National.

“You have got to putt well to win the Masters and I haven’t putted well,” Westwood said.

Kuchar actually made a brief appearance atop the leaderboard.

With 252 yards to go on his approach shot on 15, he shouted, “Come on baby, be good!” as the ball sailed toward the green. Good it was, coming within 4 feet. He tapped in for the eagle, tying him with Oosthuizen and Watson.

“It was awfully exciting,” Kuchar said. “It’s such an exciting tournament to be right there with a chance to win.”

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