Hoffman holds the top spot early in round 3

He summed up his rundown saying, "There's wonderful storylines".

Palmer continued by telling the six-time Masters champion, "Today, the people of Augusta are not only honoring you for being the most successful victor in the history of the Masters Tournament but also for the magnitude of your achievements in golf, in the business world and in life itself".

The decision seems to have paid off for the 2013 U.S. Open champion as he is in prime position to grab his second major title.

"I've been in the lead for 36 holes and more than that, nearly all of today", he said, still smiling after the third round. Yet he is now in with a strong chance of slipping on the green jacket. Pieters, a Masters rookie, and Fowler teed off first, then Hoffman and Garcia followed.

"Since the beginning of October I just haven't played bad golf".

Yet victory at Augusta this week would be extra special given Sunday's final round falls on what would have been the 60th birthday of the late, great Seve Ballesteros - an idol of Garcia who twice won the Masters.

Day has struggled in recent weeks, his best finish in his last three tournaments was a tie for 23rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month. "Rickie's going to be searching for his first major".

"When you hit a 50-yard hook into the tree and it ends up in the middle of the fairway, you feel pretty good".

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, drops his putter on the 13th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. Hoffman battled for par on the last hole to stay just two shots behind. Mickelson went on to three more bogeys for a front side 39 and could not get much going the rest of the way to finish with a 2-over 74.

Outside the Augusta National walls, however, it is all business as some of the world's biggest brands cozy up alongside golf's most celebrated event to share in its glow.

He was five shots behind until a tee shot to the left pin on No. 12 landed 5 feet from the cup, starting his run of birdies.

SPIETH'S SURGE: Perhaps the best comeback of this tournament belongs to Jordan Spieth.

Justin Rose birdied five of his final seven holes Saturday and tied Sergio Garcia for the lead after 54 holes of the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club.

The Masters' biggest leaderboard logjam in 44 years could begin to get sorted out now that the four co-leaders have teed off. Hoffman has four holes remaining in his round.

Heading to the par-5 15th, traditionally the easiest hole on the course, Hoffman had a prime chance to get that stroke back.

PAST CHAMPS HOVERING: Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth aren't the only past Masters winners hanging close to the top.

Phil Mickelson, playing with Spieth, shook up the grounds with a birdie-birdie start, but then double-bogeyed the third and watched the air leave the balloon. There are too many capable players. - Jason Day, who played with Augusta National member Jeff Knox because he was the first player off Saturday morning and is not allowed to play alone.

The 40-year-old American, once known for an unruly blond mullet but all cleaned up these days, squandered a chance to play in the final group today with a series of errant shots coming down the stretch.

  • Joanne Flowers