Augusta National Golf Club released a statement citing safety and the hope to avoid a Monday finish as the mitigating factors in the decision on Saturday afternoon as the third round was underway.

“Given the possibility of severe weather Sunday afternoon, groupings and tee times for the final round will be adjusted,” the statement read.

“Players will be grouped in threesomes with tee times scheduled to begin at 7:30am off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. The leaders will tee off at 9:20am.”

The statement also included an explanation of the decision from Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament Fred Ridley.

“The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount,” Ridley said. “We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday. This decision should benefit everyone – the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year’s Tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.”

The early start will mean the first groups will go off at 9:30pm AEST.