Masters 2017: Rose, Garcia tied for lead in prelude to finale

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.

It's too early to think about how a green jacket would fit him - not with 36 holes left, not with so many quality players around him. He picked up two more on the par 5s and finished with birdie putts of 20 feet and 12 feet on the last two holes for 5-under 67. Justin Spieth, Ryan Moore and Charley Moore are right there at -4.

Rose's best Masters finish was second in 2015. He also pulled off a shot from the pine straw on the 13th by telling his caddie, "What would Arnie do?" He narrowly missed the eagle putt.

There is a three-way tie for fourth on -4. More than just survive on Friday, he posted a 5-under 67 that gave him a share of the lead for the first time in a major. Didn't we know Thursday's quadruple bogey and the resulting 41st place finish in the first round was just an aberration?

"Everybody has a storyline and I'm not even touching upon past champions who are right there, as well". Here are the facts: Spieth has competed in four Masters and been in one of the final two pairings each time.

TELEVISION 1 6 p.m. today, CBS Sports. Spieth could punch out and lay up, leaving a wedge shot that he'd have to execute perfectly to secure a birdie.

"The course offers you a run around the par-fives", Rose told reporters. Protecting the lead, you don't want to play aggressive. But really, it starts on the back nine on Sunday. None has ever rowed back from such a deficit, but if anyone can it is the remarkable young American, who raced into contention with a third-round 68. Moments later, he realized the ball had bounced softly enough off the side of the bank to stop halfway down it. Garcia pitched up to within a foot for a tap-in birdie that could have easily been a bogey.

"Got a great break on 13", he said.

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Rickie Fowler was not going to let another meeting of major championship and masterful form go by without putting himself in position to break through.

There is no surprise that the top-ranked member of that group is Spieth, a man who has never finished worse than runner-up at this event, and has been gunning for redemption for 364 days now. It's a bit bold to say that you want to come here and win and then you don't do it, and you know, you look like a fool. I'm not going to do it, but no, I think about it all the time.

If Spieth wins after trailing by 10 after 18 holes, it would be the best 54-hole victory fightback in Masters history.

He went 29 straight holes without a bogey until a three-putt from below the ridge on the par-3 16th. He almost holed a wedge from the fairway on the 15th for another birdie and wound up with a 68.

So far in this 81st Masters, the breaks have been nearly exclusively good for Garcia, who fired a third-round, 2-under 70 - nearly five shots better than his third-round average in 13 previous Saturdays at Augusta - to maintain his share of the lead. The 23-year-old Texan had a two-shot lead with 11 holes to play in his debut in 2014 before Bubba Watson overtook him. "We fought back tremendously to have a chance to win the tournament".

He called it perfectly and now here he is, just two strokes behind the leaders, playing in the second-to-last group Sunday afternoon. At 3 under is 2013 champion Adam Scott (69) and at 2 under is 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel.

Ryder Cup partners Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters complete the top-ten on -1.

"It's tough protecting a lead on this golf course, because it's one where you need to play aggressive to win", said Spieth, who's chasing his second Green Jacket in three years. He was six shots behind.

  • Tabitha Byrd