Rose, Garcia tied for lead at Masters in prelude to finale

Posted April 15, 2017

Former Masters champion Adam Scott (69) is three shots back and Charl Schwartzel (68), another wearer of the green jacket, is four back. "Those are the kind of moments people who win this tournament have on Sunday". But he was still in a four-way tie for the lead, and it looked as though he had regained his form when he birdied two of the first four holes Saturday.

Charley Hoffman smiles as he walks off the 13th green during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. He died in 2011 at age 54.

"I'm going to need my best score around here, 65, and I'm going to need something like that, if not lower, to have a chance tomorrow", he said. "But it would be nice to have a chance to do it". Past year was an exception to the rule as Danny Willett came out of the third-to-last group to win. He didn't make the cut this year.

THE LAST WORD: "There's wonderful story lines". Our golf expert, Kyle Porter, is choosing Fowler to win the green jacket, and controlled play like he displayed Saturday is a big reason why. This is a place I would dearly love to be part of history here.

"It was the same thing I've been doing all week, fighting hard", said Garcia, who has 22 top-10 finishes in his 73 major appearances without winning. Pieters, a Masters rookie, and Fowler teed off first, then Hoffman and Garcia followed.

Pieters was the first to leave the rarefied air.

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This year, it was a crooked number on a birdie hole in the first round.

Phil Mickelson started out birdie-birdie before his round fell apart with a chunked wedge on No. 3 that led to double bogey.

He didn't do anything special except to birdie all the par 5s to offset a few miscues in his round of 71.

Fowler floundered early and was one over through 10 holes.

"I started poorly and I dropped a shot on the third which is one of the easiest holes on the golf course today, but I went two, three, two on four, five and six which is making a lot on the field. We chose to be patient with it and even though it doesn't always work, it did today".

"I'm not sure. I mean, I guess the golf course was Tiger-proofed at one point. And protecting the lead, you don't want to play aggressive".

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Hoffman had a chance to keep his distance until he ran off five bogeys in a six-hole stretch, including a three-putt from 4 feet at the par-5 eighth. "He's going to feel great about his chances (Sunday)", co-leader Rose said after his round. It was a roar of a day to finish with a 67 and get to the top of the leaderboard. Garcia and Fowler will have nerves to battle in pursuit of their first major.

Augusta National has a traffic jam atop the leaderboard heading into the third round of the Masters, a logjam that will likely take the entire weekend to untangle. And for those counting, he's played 74 majors without a win. Rose then came back with three straight birdies starting on the sixth.

On 13, Garcia thought he put his second shot in the water that guards the green. Garcia pitched up to within a foot for a tap-in birdie that could have easily been a bogey. On 15, he made a 4-footer for the birdie.

"It is a new experience for me, coming from behind on Sunday at the Masters, which is quite fun to say", Spieth chuckled afterwards. "Thirteen obviously was one of them".

"I feel like I play as aggressive as anyone round here".

Still, with all that talent at the top, the real favorite might be Spieth. If he had a bogey instead of quadruple on Thursday, he would be leading by one stroke.

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After the second round, he was four back. His 68 was the second-lowest round of the day, behind Rose. Both are at 6-under par 210. Fowler and Spieth in the penultimate group.