Rose, Garcia lead Masters as Spieth lurks


And now the 81st Masters Tournament is wide open.

Rose and Garcia are tied for the lead at 6-under-par 210, while Fowler is a shot back at 5 under, and Spieth is in a group with Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman, who led after the first two rounds, at 4 under.

He safely negotiated Amen Corner, where he came to grief spectacularly in the final round past year, and picked up further birdies at the par-five 13th and 15th holes before dropping his only shot of the day at the par-three 16th. A major champion, given his U.S. Open win in 2013 at Merion, but also now an Olympic gold medalist following a stirring return to the Games in Rio.

"Obviously I'm a Major champion, but I'm looking for more and I'm certainly looking for my first Masters and my first green jacket".

Despite playing alongside Garcia in the final group, Rose knows that Spieth - yet to finish worse than second at Augusta - is always going to be unsafe on a Sunday afternoon at Augusta.

"I have an opportunity", Rose said. Tomorrow is a huge day.

"I'm really happy with the way that we finished off this round to get back to red", he said. "You're going to have to go out and play a good round of golf, and I think there's going to be four or five guys pretty much with the same mindset tomorrow".

Maybe not. But because he made that one little putt, he has asserted himself as someone who belongs on a ridiculously good leader board at Augusta National.

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

"Him and (Jose Maria) Olazabal, they were both my big idols growing up", Garcia said. I want to give myself a chance for that to be enough. "Finishing fifth versus tenth doesn't mean much to me, so that frees me up a bit", said the American. "It would be nice to have a chance and hopefully do it".

And this time he doesn't have to worry about a record-setting performance. Kaymer is 10 strokes off the lead at four-over-par. The ball stayed up and avoided a watery resting place, though, and Garcia got it up and down for one of his four birdies on the day. Sergio Garcia finally caught a good break in a major.

His back nine was filled with pars except on the two par fives.

As usual, it includes Jordan Spieth, two shots behind and in contention for the fourth consecutive year. Pieters bogeyed the first hole but not another one the rest of the day, carding three birdies and an eagle on 13. Seeing a Green Jacket laid across an empty chair when the honorary starters kicked off the tournament was an emotional reminder that one of the game's most legendary figures would no longer shake hands, tell stories and make memories with us all. Charley Hoffman sits two strokes back after falling out of the lead for the first time since Thursday after posting a four-under 68 that included a very costly double-bogey at the par-three 16th.

Two-time major victor Spieth is hoping to banish memories of last year's spectacular final-day collapse by winning his second Masters. He'd also bogeyed No. 14, and played his final five holes in 3-over. Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champ, is at 213. Thomas Pieters shot three over to finish Round 3 at -1.

"There's wonderful story lines", Rose said, and his is one. Spieth continues to impress after a tough quadruple bogey in Round 1.

Spieth had made up his mind, and just before he took the club back, the 2015 Masters victor told his caddie where he got his motivation.

"Having contended on this golf course the last few years, usually you don't need to go as low as you think, but you never know". This is, by far, the best I've felt in a major.

"Saturday's gone and now Sunday's coming - a very exciting Sunday", Garcia said after making a 7-foot par putt on the final hole for a 2-under 70 to share the lead with Rose. Spieth, on the other hand, has played the Masters three times previously and only been beaten by two men - Danny Willett past year and Bubba Watson in 2014.