KOREA’S Byeong Hun An staged another valiant comeback after a difficult start to salvage a gutsy even-par 72 in the third round of the Masters Tournament on Saturday and positioned himself for a best-ever finish in the year’s first major.

An, a five-time PGA TOUR runner-up, brilliantly birdied Hole Nos. 16 and 17 before sinking a clutch eight-foot putt for par at Augusta National for tied ninth place on 1-under 215, six shots behind 54-hole leader, Scottie Scheffler.

World No. 1 Scheffler, who has triumphed in two of his last three PGA TOUR events, ground out a 71 to claim a narrow one-shot lead over compatriot Collin Morikawa, who surged into second place with a solid 69 to earn his place in the final pairing with Scheffler on Sunday. Max Homa, one of three co-leaders on Friday, shot a 73 for solo third, two back, while Masters debutant Ludvig Aberg returned a 70 for fourth place.

An will be looking to mount a strong push in Sunday’s finale, fully aware of the stakes at hand.

With his current position, the 32-year-old Korean is poised to achieve his best-ever result at the Masters in his five appearances, surpassing his previous best of T33 in 2017. Maintaining his position within the top 12 is also crucial as it would guarantee a return to Augusta National next year.

As he is six back, An has an outside chance to challenge for the coveted Green Jacket.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, the 2021 Masters winner, shot his week’s best 71 to rise to T28 on 221. He has finished inside the top 20 in eight of his nine appearances. Korean duo Siwoo Kim and Tom Kim, the other two Asian competitors who made the halfway cut, registered a 73 and 77 to sit in T41 and T52 respectively.

Bidding to reclaim the Green Jacket he won in 2022, Scheffler overcame a tough day which saw him mix his scorecard with an eagle, four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey as he remained on course for his career’s second major victory.

“I think I’ll have a better understanding of what the morning is like tomorrow. But, yeah, proud of how I played today. It was a good fight out there. The golf course was extremely challenging. The greens were very firm, very fast, and it was extremely difficult again today. So probably looking for more of the same tomorrow,“ said Scheffler, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and THE PLAYERS Championship last month.

Five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods carded his worst score at Augusta National, shooting an 82 as he slipped down the leaderboard.