Hoffman leads Garcia in third-round Masters

"I think had I been two or three shots behind, I still would have felt that I was in great position going into tomorrow, which leads me to understand everybody's mindset behind me. And if I can have a good putting weekend I'm going to have a good chance".

"I'm excited about the challenges that this weekend is going to bring and hopefully I'll step up to them and I'll be able to be up there on Sunday with a solid chance at winning this handsome tournament".

Rickie Fowler, who like Garcia is looking for his first major win, is five under for the championship. I like that the fact that he knew he didn't have his good stuff on Saturday. Mickelson, at 2 over, is eight shots behind the co-leaders. "I'll be able to tell you better tomorrow night whether those missed opportunities hurt my chances".

"I'm a major champion, but I'm looking for more", Rose said.

They are two strokes ahead of Wlliam McGirt and three up on a group that includes Jon Rahm, Ryan Moore, Justin Rose and 57-year-old Fred Couples, who shot a 2-under-70.

Charley Hoffman, who started the day at 13/2 after opening 150/1, was unable to keep up his torrid pace after Day 1, shooting a three-over 75 to sit at 4-under for the tournament.

It appeared for a short time that Garcia's charge had gone off track, when his score of bogey at the par-four 10th was changed to a triple-bogey on the leaderboard.

"Disappointed to finish like that, but I'm still within five of the lead going into the weekend with better conditions on the way", said McIlroy, who needs a win this week to complete a collection of all four of golf's major titles.

"I think it's a really good thing", said Fowler, who birdied all four par 5s in the third round and is at 5-under 211.

The 2013 victor fought his way into contention with a three-under-par 69 on Saturday as Rose shot 67 and Garcia 70 to lead at six under. "I don't even know how much it would mean to join both of my idols as a Masters victor", Garcia said, struggling to find the right words to express the place those World Golf Hall of Fame members have in his heart and soul. He said he is not about to go down quietly.

Following a third-round 68 that moved Spieth to within two shots of the lead heading into Sunday, he was asked why he believes his game meshes so well with the hallowed grounds at Augusta National.

"I took advantage and the last two birdies put the cherry on the cake". My fairways hit is 55 percent. The 1992 Masters champion is three shots off the lead one year after sitting out the tournament with back problems.

"Anything can happen on a Sunday at Augusta", said early finisher Jason Day, who had 69 but is nine shots off the lead. "It's honestly something I still think about every day".

  • Leroy Wright