Rose posted 5-under-par 67 today to finish with a 6-under-par 210 total through 54 holes at the Masters Tournament.
Twenty years after Tiger Woods made the golf world tremble with his dominance at the ’97 Masters, Jordan Spieth is sending shivers through the 2017 Masters field – in his own way.
The cold wind disappeared and the roars were back in the first major of the season. Sergio is going to have a great opportunity.
Couples, the 1992 Masters victor, could become the oldest major victor in history at age 57 if his balky back can last 72 holes. The world’s No. 1 golfer and prohibitive favorite to capture the Green Jacket didn’t even give it a go, withdrawing just minutes before he was to be at the first hole. “Everyone has a story line”. Spieth didn’t have to come back to win his first Masters title, but this wouldn’t be the first time in his career he’s chased down the leaders to win.
“It’s been such a long time coming”, Garcia said after the win. “I’ll be able to tell you better tomorrow night whether those missed opportunities hurt my chances”. You still have to play smart when you have to.
The two had started on Sunday as co-leaders, before Garcia took a three-stroke lead after five holes.
The second-to-last group today, off at 2:35 p.m., will feature good friends Spieth and Fowler. Right ahead of them will be Fowler and Spieth, who are also good friends.
Two holes later, his tee shot was caught behind a tree and he punched a lot shot into the front bunker, his best chance at escaping with par.
Asked how much fun he was having on a scale of one to 10, he said; “11 and a half”.
One such good break Garcia experienced Saturday came at the par-5 13th.
However, after making a birdie on the par-five second, the Northern Irishman three-pu tted the fourth from 95 feet and had to scramble to save par on the next two holes.
KEY STATISTIC This is the fourth time Garcia has played in the final group at a major, and the first since the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie.
American William McGirt (73) is fifth at two-under, while Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose shares sixth with young Spanish star Jon Rahm (70), Ryan Moore (69) and 1992 green jacket victor Fred Couples (70) at one-under. He said he is not about to go down quietly. And he wasn’t whistling Dixie when he said after missing the cut last week in the Shell Houston Open that “we strike fear in others (at the Masters)”. It’s play aggressive or go home. “I put myself in position pretty much all day”.
And Garcia managed to finally hold his Saturday-at-Augusta demons at bay with a decent round of 70 for a 6-under total.
At the par-5 13th, Garcia’s 4-iron approach from the fairway hit the grassy bank in front of the green and began trundling back toward Rae’s Creek.
But the 36-year-old has barely made a mistake since, and his bogey-free performance on Saturday, which included several golden birdie chances that shaved the hole but did not drop, left him alone in seventh on three-under 213.
“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. “But at the end of the day, that’s part of the game”.
Rickie Fowler one stroke back. Former Masters champions Adam Scott (3 under) and Charl Schwartzel (2 under) are also in the hunt, while Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters (both 1 under) wrap up the players under par after Saturday’s third round.
MAYBE HOFFMAN? Say what you want about Charley Hoffman’s inexplicable water ball on No. 16, the 40-year-old has hung tough after one of the loneliest situations in sport – gaining a big lead early.