Olympic champion Justin Rose and Spain's Sergio Garcia surged to the front on an absorbing afternoon at Augusta to take a one-shot lead over Rickie Fowler into the final round of the Masters Sunday.
Sergio Garcia finally showed he has what it takes to win a major, and he has a green jacket to prove it. Els signed off on an 83 that puts him in last place at 14 over and 20 shots behind. He died in 2011 at 54.
"He and [Jose Maria] Olazabal, they were both my big idols growing up", Garcia said. "I don't even know how much it would mean to join both of my idols as a Masters victor", Garcia said, struggling to find the right words to express the place those World Golf Hall of Fame members have in his heart and soul. Here's everything you should know about the competitor!
If you are into the alleged Renaissance of English golfers, then Rose is your man.
A year ago, Fowler missed the cut.
"There's wonderful storylines [heading into the last round]", Rose said. This is a place I would dearly love to be part of history here.
Justin Rose knows there are a lot of compelling story lines at the Masters.
Saturday's round was like watching a high-level chess match, never quite sure who had the advantage. Pieters, who went into Saturday sharing the four-way lead with Garcia, Fowler and Hoffman, double-bogeyed the par-4 11th and bogeyed the par-4 18th to wind up with a 75.
Pieters was the first to leave the rarefied air. Spieth's five-birdie, one-bogey round left him at 4-under for the tournament. But birdies on the two par fives on the back nine allowed him to shoot a 71, leaving him at five under.
Garcia six behind Charley Hoffman at start of second round, opened with three birdies in a row and then caught up as Hoffman dropped a bunch of shots midway through the round.
"You have to be patient", Fowler said. "I'm playing good golf, and if I play my game tomorrow, I think I got a good chance".
"I played well early on", he said.
This is the first Masters since Arnold Palmer's death last fall, and his legacy of the gambling showman has been often discussed this week.
"I had my head down and I knew I was creeping up on the leaders and that quick birdie-birdie finish put me right up there".
"I have an opportunity", Rose said.
"Something like today's round and maybe finish it off a little better and it might be enough". Garcia, who hopes to end his major drought Sunday on what would have been the 60th birthday of the late icon Seve Ballesteros, opened with three birdies and played even from there to stake his claim to the top.
But golf also can elevate you, and as the final round looms at Augusta National, that could happen to Spieth again. And for those counting, he's gone 74 majors without a win.
McIlroy blistered drives of more than 300 yards in the fairway on the two par 5s on the back nine at Augusta, and both times walked off with pars. Now, he's going for the green jacket. That worked out well, as Spieth made a birdie on his way to a 68 while energizing the old Arnie's Army in the process.
Spieth cranked a 4-iron, and the ball cleared Rae's Creek by plenty, settling 29 feet from the hole.
The players ahead of Spieth on the leaderboard are all stars in their own right, but none of them could feel any better than him on this course at this moment.
"Obviously I would like to be deep in the red, but one under is pretty good". "Today I began to feel very comfortable on the greens". Fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year.
Still, with all of that talent at the top, the real favorite might be Spieth.
Spieth continued his comeback from a first round in which he quadruple-bogeyed the 15th hole.
That included Charley Hoffman, who held the lead after the first and second round.
Garcia and Rose were neck-and-neck the entire day.
Paired with Phil Mickelson in the marquee twosome of the day, Spieth outdid his playing partner as well as nearly everyone else.