Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rose and Garcia lead as Spieth threatens again at Masters

The green jacket remains well and truly up for grabs with Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia leading after three rounds of the Masters.
A thrilling final day of the Masters is in store after Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia claimed the third-round lead, with Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth heading a star-studded chasing pack.
The still conditions that greeted the field on Saturday were in stark contrast to the strong winds of Thursday and Friday and that allowed for slightly more favourable scoring at Augusta.
Rose and Spieth were the biggest beneficiaries on a 'moving day' that lived up to its name, the former hitting the low round of 67 to join Garcia on six under, while Spieth's 68 moved him to within two of top spot.
Garcia and Fowler - who is now one shot off the pace - were part of a four-way tie for the lead after two rounds, and the Spaniard will head out in the final group again on Sunday.
But it was a tough end to round three for Charley Hoffman, a double-bogey at 16 seeing him slip two shots adrift after leading for much of the day, while Thomas Pieters - the fourth of the overnight leaders - toiled to a three-over 75 that leaves him four back.
While much of the attention was on Spieth's charge, Rose went about his business in typically unassuming fashion.
The Englishman made bogey at the second, but was level par for the day at the turn before a stunning back nine featuring birdies at five of the last seven holes.
Gains at the 12th, 13th and 15th saw Rose shoot up the leaderboard and he then picked up further shots on the last two, a confident 11-foot putt into the heart of the cup at the 18th completing an excellent day's work.
For Garcia, it was not always straightforward, with the Spaniard unable to convert several birdie opportunities. However, luck was on his side when he just managed to avoid going into Rae's Creek at 13 before recovering with a fine chip that set up a birdie.
And he soon made the most of another par-five, the 15th, to pick up another stroke before signing for a two-under 70.
Much like Garcia, Fowler was made to dig deep at times during his one-under round of 71.
The American, who is yet to win a major title, was one over through 10 but also birdied the back-nine par fives to remain firmly in the hunt.
Spieth, aiming for a second green jacket in three years, is in an ominous position and for much of Saturday's play it looked like he may even move into the lead.
After starting the day with five consecutive pars, Spieth kick-started his round with a run of three birdies in four holes before the turn - the highlight coming at the ninth when a beautiful approach left a tap-in.
Excellent scrambling pars at 10 and 12 preceded a stunning long iron out of the pine needles at 13 that eventually led to another birdie, while a tremendous approach at 15 - where he carded a quadruple-bogey nine on Thursday - resulted in another simple putt for a four.
Spieth's momentum was stunted at the 16th when he missed a seven-foot par putt to end a run of 29 holes without dropping a shot, but he could still be content with his efforts.
Things were going well for Hoffman, who had returned to his first-round score of seven under through 13 holes.
But a bogey at 14 was followed by a tee shot that found water at the par-three 16th, where he eventually recorded a double bogey, and the American is level with Spieth and Ryan Moore (69) on four under.
Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, is another leading contender after moving to three under for the tournament with a 69, but Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson - a three-time champion - seemingly have too much to do at level par and two over respectively. Jon Rahm also slipped back to even par late in the day.

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