Garcia, Rose make turn tied for Masters lead

While narratives are rife throughout the Masters leaderboard, the headline on Rose's road toward a green jacket would read something like this: Really Good Player is Trying to Win Really Good Tournament. "I think if I had been two or three shots behind, I would still have felt I was in a great position".

Justin Rose stormed into contention to claim a second major title as Jordan Spieth wrote another remarkable chapter in his history with Augusta National. He missed that for a three-putt bogey. At No. 6, he poured in a very Spiethian putt from 44 feet that got the crowd roaring early. Anticipating a possible final pairing with Justin Rose, Fowler was well short of the hole on his birdie try.

"I take a lot of confidence from the fact that I played in the final group with Jordan in 2015 and played well", he said.

The idea of lengthening the course, dubbed "Tiger-proofing", certainly made it harder for Woods, who has only won two Masters since the changes, and none since 2005. "You can make birdies, eagles, bogeys".

"I mean, it's definitely improved", he said.

Maybe Sergio will ask "What would Seve do?" and go out Sunday and believe he can capture his first major by the scruff. In between those second-place finishes, he went wire to wire to win the tournament by four shots with a record-tying score of 18 under par in 2015.

"I certainly know anything can happen on Sunday", said Spieth, referring to his collapse previous year. That's all you want, but really it starts on the back nine on Sunday.

His back nine was filled with pars except for the two par-5s.

However, after making a birdie on the par-five second, the Ulsterman three-putted the fourth from 95 feet and had to scramble to save par on the next two holes. Moments later, he realized the ball had bounced softly enough off the side of the bank to stop halfway down it.

"It's been an fantastic week", Garcia said, "and I'm going to enjoy it for the rest of my life".

The 37-year-old Spaniard finished off his round by clenching his fist when a 7-foot par putt dropped into the cup for a 70.

It's a small factor, but those are the ones which can separate a bunch of elite golfers and they've been in Garcia's favour all week.

He will be paired with Spieth in the penultimate group. If you answered the latter, you just might want to think about rooting for Rose to win this thing.

Rose, who made seven birdies and had the day's best round (67), nearly felt as though he won the Masters two years ago when he shot 14-under 274 and finished second behind Spieth's record-tying score of 270.

From his perch along the 15th fairway, where he worked as an on-course reporter for 20 years, Feherty witnessed countless exams doled out by the course.

Harry Vardon in the 1898 Open is the only major champion to have been 10 or more shots behind after the first round, but Spieth carded a 69 on Friday and Saturday's 68 included a tap-in birdie on the 15th after an approach "with the same wedge, same number" which span back into the water on Thursday. Spieth, on the other hand, has played the Masters three times previously and only been beaten by two men - Danny Willett past year and Bubba Watson in 2014.

Now I have a chance of winning the tournament I dreamed of as a kid. "In the past, I would have, I would have started going, you know, at my caddie, and oh, you know, why doesn't it go through and whatever", Garcia said, laughing.

"With it being fairly crowded, a handful of guys being within a few shots of the lead, I think it's going to be tough for someone to really run and distance themselves too much, with the possibilities of what you can do on the back nine", said Fowler, who is alone in third place a stroke off the lead. Hoffman battled for par on the last hole to stay just two shots behind.

He was the only player in the field to break par all four days. Pieters shot 75 and is tied with Lee Westwood at 215, two shots behind Adam Scott and one behind Charl Schwartzel, two former Masters champions.

"I'm happy how I fought back because I had a lot of bad swings Saturday", said Pieters, who has three wins on the European Tour and starred for Europe in the 2016 Ryder Cup. For the first time in his Masters career, Spieth will not play in the final group on Sunday.

  • Julie Sanders