3rd round at Masters a day of wasted chances for McIlroy

Rickie Fowler tips his hat on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters golf tournament Friday

It certainly fired up Mickelson, who opened with birdies on the first and second holes to move to 2-under as those watching applauded wildly.

English golfer Justin Rose and Spanish rival Sergio Garcia head into the final round of the Masters out in front with a one-shot lead over Rickie Fowler in a tight contest with just five shots separating the top 10.

Justin Rose. Sergio Garcia.

Of course, Spieth pulled off the shot, finding the putting green in two shots before making a birdie 4. Kaymer is 10 strokes off the lead at four-over-par. Spieth could have been forgiven for playing safe, but smashed a long iron onto the green from 230 yards and narrowly missed the eagle putt.

If you are into sentiment or karma, then Garcia is your man. Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of Seve Ballesteros, the greatest golfer from Garcia's native Spain and a two-time Masters victor.

Rose, the 36-year-old Englishman, shares the 54-hole lead at the Masters for the first time. Last year, the Masters was won by Danny Willett. Spieth looked done on Friday with an opening 75 that included a quadruple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole. I don't know what goes on after that. Pieters, a Masters rookie, and Fowler teed off first, then Hoffman and Garcia followed.

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"I made a few errors", Hoffman said. "That's all you want but really it starts on the back nine (in the final round)", added Rose. But birdies on the two par fives on the back nine allowed him to shoot a 71, leaving him at five under.

Rose could use another back nine like he had in the third round.

McIlroy's last birdie of the third round came on No. 12, and with two par 5s ahead of him, he was poised to get right in the thick of it. "Great shots were rewarded, but mid-irons out of the rough were hard". Moments later, he realized the ball had bounced softly enough off the side of the bank to stop halfway down it.

Garcia probed around the leaderboard all day while watching others make bogeys and birdies around him. The best players in the world have made just nine birdies there so far. "Because it gives you the possibility of getting a break like that".

The 23-year-old now looks on track for a third excellent finish at the tournament, after winning the 2015 edition and ending as the runner-up last year, when he let a five-shot lead slip in the final round. Both are at 6-under par 210. The Spieth-Fowler pair will be one of the most closely watched twosomes on a Sunday at a major championship in recent times.

Fowler was part of a four-way tie for the lead when the third round started Saturday.

He will be paired with Spieth in the penultimate group.

"He has a good touch when it comes to those things", he said of Olazabal. "I think so", Garcia said. He almost holed a wedge from the fairway on the 15th for another birdie and wound up with a 68.

"We've really grinded it out to have a chance to win this tournament".

"I feel great. After the first round, I couldn't ask for much better than this", Spieth said. He is now just two strokes off the lead.

Only 10 players remained under par, all of them separated by five shots. The same can be said of Charl Schwartzel, another former champion who is at two-under following a brilliant 68. "He was very much pressing for a lay-up there and laying up was the smart shot", smiled Spieth. It is that he understands the limitations of his ability, that he will have never have the brute force of bombers such as Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson, and thus takes every step to guard against even the tiniest wobble.



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