Jordan Spieth continues to lead The Masters after three rounds at Augusta, but England’s Justin Rose reduced his advantage to four shots with a superb 67.
Rose started the third round slowly and was two-over-par through the first five holes. But he came alive after that and played the remaining 13 in seven-under-par. He came back in just 31 shots to complete 54-holes on 12-under-par.
Despite Rose’s run, Spieth reached 18-under-par after 16 holes and, at that stage, he enjoyed a seven-shot lead. But after a poor pitch and three putts at the 17th, a double-bogey brought the American back within touching distance of the field.
It looked as though Spieth might compound that error on the home hole. He sliced his approach into the crowd and faced a tough up-and-down. But he played a fine flop shot and then holed the putt to save par.
“I thought two-under would be a good score today but obviously being four-under and closing at two under is disappointing, but it could have been worse and I was very pleased with that up and down on 18,” he said.
Even with the two dropped shots, Spieth’s 54-hole total of 16-under-par is a new Masters record. During the round Justin Rose was aware of Spieth’s progress but he kept his focus on what he was trying to do.
“My caddie and I were commenting that Spieth was already at 18 under par, which was Tiger’s record score. Jordan was so far ahead that you were just playing your own game,” he said. “It was nice to stay patient and get rewarded with a hot finish. It’s amazing and it put me in with a great opportunity tomorrow now. It’s a great lesson, as well, to stay patient, because you never know when you’re going to get your run.”
Phil Mickelson also had a good day on Friday. He too fired a 67 and goes into Sunday alone in third place on 11-under-par, five behind Spieth.
Charley Hoffman is fourth, a further shot back after a solid round of 71. He’s been somewhat overlooked as a potential winner of the event owing to the big names surrounding him on the leaderboard. But at just six shots back with one round to go, he’s still in with a chance.
10 shots back in a tie for fifth place, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy might have too much to do to earn victory in the year’s first Major. Both fired third rounds of 68, but both could have finished better. Rory bogeyed the 16th and 18th holes and Tiger played the last five in one-over.
England’s Paul Casey had a disappointing day. He started promisingly with a birdie at the third to reach eight-under, but he played the remaining holes in three over to finish three rounds on five-under-par, in a tie for 10th place.
U.S Masters Leaderboard After Day 3
1 Jordan Spieth (USA) 64 66 70 200
2 Justin Rose (Eng) 67 70 67 204
3 Phil Mickelson (USA) 70 68 67 205
4 Charley Hoffman (USA) 67 68 71 206
T5 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 71 71 68 210
T5 Tiger Woods (USA) 73 69 68 210
T5 Kevin Streelman (USA) 70 70 70 210
T5 Kevin Na (USA) 74 66 70 210
T5 Dustin Johnson (USA) 70 67 73 210
T10 Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 71 70 70 211
T10 Paul Casey (Eng) 69 68 74 211
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage