THANKS to some late missteps by Jordan Spieth and a fighting third round by Jason Day the US Masters just got a whole lot more interesting.
Spieth had a double bogey on the 11th and dropped three more shots on the final two holes to finish with a 1-over 73 on 3-under for the tournament.
After threatening to run away with the event with his 5-under in the first round, the defending champion has given all those back to around 3-over a chance at the Green Jacket.
That includes Day, who in continuing very tough windy conditions, was one of only a handful of golfers to get into red figures for the round.
The Aussie shot a 1-under 71 to be on even, close enough to a leader who could lose that margin on one hole.
Best round of the day came from the unlikely direction of Smyle Kaufman (69), who will play in the final group with Spieth it what will be his very first Sunday appearance at a major.
The 22 year old American has just one win on the US PGA Tour (and one on the secondary Web.com Tour) and could continue to surprise everyone in the final round … or crash and burn under the incredible pressure, as so many hopefuls have in the past.
In the second last grouping – in another surprise result – is 58 year old Bernhard Langer, who shot a third round 70 to be at 1-under. He will be joined by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (72), a golfer we had a hunch about before the tournament began. Matsuyama could go on to win his first Major, or maybe our “hunch” has already been fulfilled by his fine performance so far.
In the third final paring is Day and Dustin Johnson (73), while England’s Danny Willet (72)is also on even and will be joined by fellow countryman Lee Westwood (71) who is just 1-over.
Langer impressed by Day
It would probably surprise no one if Langer, a two time Masters winner (1985, 1993) and Champions Tour regular went on to win his third Green Jacket.
The German gives up a lot of ground off the tee but loves to grind it our and could be assisted if the blustery conditions continue.
Langer, the first ever official world No.1, played alongside Day, the current holder of that marker, in the third round and was impressed by the young Aussie.
A highlight of their rounds came at the par-4 14th where Day sunk a 21 metre putt to record back-to-back birdies while Langer had the crowd cheering when he chipped in for birdie.
“It was fun being out there with Jason Day. He’s a wonderful young man and I enjoyed his company,” Langer said.
“He’s a phenomenal golfer, hits the ball a ton. I’ve seldom seen somebody putt as well as he has today, so that was fun watching.”
Adam Scott and Cameron Smith both made the cut but didn’t fare so well Saturday with Scott (75) on 7-over at T34 and debutante Smith tied 53rd on 13-over.
Spieth comments after Round 3: Video
Despite his late third round hiccups, Spieth will still be confident going into what is his eighth consecutive Masters round as leader.
His third round playing partner Rory McIlroy (77) had a frustrating day, going birdie-less in a major for the first time in 80 rounds.
McIlroy just couldn’t get his putter working but with Spieth’s late stumbles believed he was still a chance at 2-over.