Sergio Garcia wins 1st major title at the Masters

But he's three shots ahead of Rickie Fowler, four clear of Charley Hoffman and five up on Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Paul Casey.

As former victor Charl Schwartzel (-6) made a push along with debutant Thomas Pieters (-5) Matt Kuchar (-6) stole the show and got the crowd going with a sensational hole-in-one on the 16.

The four-time major victor, who needs to win the Masters to complete the career grand slam, hit a superb pitch to three feet but missed the par putt to leave himself five shots off the lead. Fowler is one shot off the lead, while Spieth is part of a group at 4 under.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion whose back-nine Sunday meltdown a year ago cost him a repeat crown, fired a 68 to share fourth on 212 with fellow Americans Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman, a co-leader until finding the water at the par-3 16th and making double bogey.

Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are tied for the lead heading to the 72nd hole of the Masters. "Because for a while there, it was 'What are we doing?' And I wasn't doing much wrong and that's what was so tough". And you can bet he felt good when the patrons gave him a loud ovation after he holed a nice birdie putt at the last. The finish was a bonus, hitting it close on 17 and on 18 to get it on the right level. "If I don't, it's been good". I've been waiting for an extra gear, I seem to be finding it and hopefully can keep trending the way I am.

"But I'm going out there with no pressure tomorrow, playing really well tee to green, feeling good on the greens".

"It wasn't quite good enough".

Garcia, who has recorded 22 top-10 finishes in majors without success, has the added incentive of being able to claim a first title on Sunday, which would have been the 60th birthday of two-time champion and fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros. After making par at No. 7, he made a run at eagle on the par 5 eighth with an expert second shot that traversed a slope to the right of the green and came to rest about 10 feet from the pin.

If Spieth wins after an opening 75 that had him trailing by 10 shots, it would be the best 54-hole victory fightback in Masters history. This is Garcia's first major championship after 19 years on the PGA tour.

"It's just a stat", said the 25-year-old Belgian, who won four of his five matches at Hazeltine. There wasn't going to be a lot I could have done today.

"After contending on Sunday for a few years in a row you normally don't need as low as you think".

McIlroy had a 1-under-par 71 on Saturday and sits at even par, six shots out of the lead, entering the final round.

Rose could use another back nine like he had on Saturday.

Garcia says when he was younger he always thought he'd win at Augusta.

On the front nine on Saturday, the Spaniard sank a 38-footer for birdie on the par-four fifth.

"I liked my confidence on the greens". And it was Jose Maria Olazabal, who won the Masters in 1994 and 1999, who sent him a text on the eve of the Masters telling Garcia to believe and "to not let things get to me like I've done in the past".

"It would be unbelievable, something hard to describe but we still have one day to go".

Sergio Garcia dropped one stroke behind the leader with a bogey at the 10th.

"It's not going to be easy".

  • Zachary Reyes