Rickie Fowler tied for top spot at Masters

Carla Harmon
April 22, 2017

Fowler is one shot off the lead, while Spieth is part of a group at 4 under.

Spieth put himself in position to continue his extraordinary record at the Masters, which he won in 2015 and finished tied second in 2014 and 2016.

Sergio Garcia has made two early birdies in the final round of the Masters, a promising start in the Spaniard's bid to capture his first major championship.

SHOT OF THE DAY Spieth hit a 5-iron off the pine straw and over the tributary of Rae's Creek on the par-5 13th to 30 feet.

Not to be overlooked was a 10-foot birdie chance on the 14th, and a 5-foot birdie putt he missed on No. 11, the toughest hole on the back nine. Garcia is a longtime star but still seeking his first major championship. But this time he fired a two-under par 70 to match the best of those rounds from 2002 to join England's Rose in Sunday's final pairing with a great chance at a long-sought dream.

QUOTEWORTHY "I know that anything can happen".

In recent years, Rose has made no secret that the Masters is a tournament he truly wants to win. Former Masters champion Jordan Spieth is among a group of three players a further shot back on four under.

"My mentality has changed a little bit, the way I'm taking things, particularly this week at Augusta", he said. But other than 2011, when he took a lead into the back nine, McIlory hasn't really been a big threat to win.

Sergio Garcia? He's only 37, but he has never won a major and once conceded at Augusta National that he never will and so, you know, it seems like he's 37 going on 47. Spieth moved back into contention with a 68 Saturday, but he promised to play aggressively and promptly tumbled back down the leaderboard and finished tied for 11th with a final-round 75. But his sand shot caught the slope and ran some 65 feet away.

Hoffman found himself in better spots than he hoped and "was able to convert those birdies and turn it into a fantastic round". But that's the challenge we always have, making sure that you accept the bad moments or the bad breaks with the good ones, and kind of move on. When they embraced at the last hole, Rose patted Garcia's chest, calling attention to the heart some doubted would ever be stout enough to win the big one.

"Today I think I sort of felt how hard it was for everybody else in this wind when you sort of got out of position, " Hoffman said.

Excited to play once again in the Masters after his impressive performance at the Rio Olympics last August, Rose wasn't going to let his enthusiasm get the best of him.

The two-time major victor, a 2015 Masters champion who famously opened to door to Willett past year by inexplicably throwing away a five-shot lead on the back nine, carded a brilliant four-under 68 - including redemption at the 15th, where he produced a truly ugly quadruple-bogey 9 two days ago - to put himself firmly in contention.

The 40-year-old American had an otherwise solid round with two birdies and no bogeys across the other 12 holes.

The magic touch Hoffman displayed in gaining a four-shot lead on Thursday disappeared between dusk and dawn, which was understandable since he got news that his grandmother died on Thursday.

"Everybody talked about how great the Thursday round was, but it was pretty easy to me, making putts and hitting good golf shots".

Fred Couples (70), a 57-year-old former Masters champion, 2013 U.S. Open victor Justin Rose (72), red-hot Spaniard Jon Rahm (70) and Ryan Moore (69) stood three shots off the pace. With no way to get it close, Hoffman played it safe and wound up with a two-putt par from 20 feet. On the par-five eighth, he chunked a chip shot and then lipped out his par-putt. He was twice a runner-up but missed the cut five of the last 10 years.

The pre-round favourites for many, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson have dropped down the leaderboard.

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

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