Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia share Masters lead

Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia share Masters lead

I have an opportunity.

Justin Rose had a back-nine charge so common at Augusta National. Hoffman lost his four-shot lead in 11 holes before he steadied himself the rest of the way and limited the damage to a 75.

For the first time at Augusta, he will not play in the final group on Sunday, but most likely will be contender. "What would Arnie do" was my way of expressing it to Michael, which we all know exactly what he would've done.

If you are into sentiment, or even karma, then Garcia, the native of Borriol, Spain, is your man. Sunday is the 60th anniversary of the birth of Seve Ballesteros, the most famous golfer ever from Spain and a two-time Masters victor.

"Him and (Jose Maria) Olazabal, they were both my big idols growing up", Garcia said. "So it means a lot".

"We wanted to shoot four under and thought if we did the lead would move to six or seven and I'd creep on it", said the 2015 champion, who is bidding to become the youngest two-time Masters victor.

Rose's first two rounds were blighted by inconsistency, mixing nine birdies with eight bogeys, and his front nine on Saturday was much the same as he took six at the second followed by a birdie three at the next.

TRAILING Rickie Fowler (71) was one shot behind, the closest he has ever been to the 54-hole lead in a major.

"I think it's the kind of place that if you are trying to fight against it, it's going to beat you down", Garcia said.

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Spieth is in a slightly better position despite a rough start on Thursday, when he finished with a 3-over 75. Hoffman battled for par on the last hole to stay just two shots behind. Watson missed the cut for the first time in his nine starts at the Masters.

The group is two shots clear of the next four ties at 2-under, which includes three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, 1992 green jacket victor Fred Couples and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose. That group included former Masters champions Adam Scott (69) and Charl Schwartzel (68). Lee Westwood, a runner-up previous year and in search of his first major title at age 43, had 68 and is five back as is Masters rookie Thomas Pieters (75).

Spieth referenced his meltdown a year ago when a quadruple bogey on No. 12 cost him the lead and the tournament when he said, "I know anything can happen".

And the 23-year-old Texan, who has finished second, first and tied second in his three Augusta appearances, put himself in the frame again with a nerveless third-round display. I'm five behind at the minute and there's probably going to be a good few guys that finish ahead of me going into the weekend.

"I had aspirations for a long, long time", he said. "We weren't going to win any awards in the last two holes with me being in the woods, but the support he (Couples) gets is wonderful".

Hoffman's made the most of the calmer conditions at Augusta National, with pinpoint approach shots at the second and fourth holes. It's a good place to be since the victor has come out of that group 21 of the past 26 years.

The Spaniard shaved the hole at 14 but jumped into a tie at the top with a four at the next, and he parred safely in to remain tied with Ryder Cup team-mate Rose, with the European pair leading Fowler by one. "You have to play the wind gusts and be careful where you hit it".

He got back to seven under at the 13th, but he bogeyed the next and then came to grief at 16 when he pulled his tee shot way left and into the drink, and the resulting double-bogey five saw him slip to four under par.

Couples led after the opening round in 2010.

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