Rose blooms on Augusta's back nine to grab share of lead

Rory Mc Ilroy was proud of his battling display on day one at Augusta

Not when the Seattle native is shooting a 2-under-par 70 on another challenging day at Augusta National.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson would become the oldest victor in Masters history two months before his 47th birthday by taking his fourth green jacket.

Not that it should be surprising to anyone. He was on top at the midway point in 2012.

Indeed, Day climbed from lying 53rd at the start of his third round and headed to the clubhouse sharing 23rd place after posting a three under par 69 to get back to three over par in the year's first Major.

"I've been in the lead for 36 holes and more than that, nearly all of today", he said, still smiling after the third round. I bogeyed the second hole and he parred it and he was, kind of had a little 1-up lead there for a bit, so I'm glad I ended up carrying out the back side.

Couples made six birdies, the last at No. 18 to close his round with a flourish.

The world number hit a flawless drive on 18 but disaster struck when his pinpoint approach struck the flag and flew off the green.

The challenge for Couples is to keep it going through the weekend. Not since 1998 have the last two players on the course gone to the 18th tied for the lead. By the same token, it also marked his best finish in one of golf's four big events since the 2014 season.

"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". Tom Weiskopf, he of the majestic swing and massive talent, was runner-up four times between 1969 and 1975.

Moore, meanwhile, didn't have a bogey in his round.

"And she was trying to get me, pick me up and give me a good boost". "I knew it was going to be a tough day, and I bettered that by one". "How many people get to play here 23 times?"

But a tie for seventh at 3-under with Kevin Chappell marked McIlroy's fourth straight top 10 at the tournament.

Fowler, who shot an 80 in the opening round previous year to miss the cut, made the biggest move Friday with a 5-under 67.

The wind began to subside as the pines cast long shadows across the course late in the afternoon, and the forecast is close to perfection for the rest of the weekend, with mild temperatures and hardly any wind.

"It would be fantastic, something hard to describe but we still have one day to go".

Fifteen players were separated by a mere five shots going into the weekend. Spieth is tied for 10th along with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.

Two days of survival gives way to a shootout among some of golf's biggest stars.

"It's going to be fun". Not to be overlooked was Thomas Pieters of Belgium, a real threat to become the first Masters rookie since 1979 to leave with a green jacket. He fired a 3-iron across the water and into the wind to the 15th green for a two-putt birdie and shot 69.

An improbable par at the 13th provided the impetus for an unexpected charge.

Garcia, who joined Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal as the only players from Spain to win the Masters, had every reason to pack it in several times but remained patient and undaunted instead of becoming petulant and pouty as he has in the past.

Moore, 34, is a five-time Tour victor with two top 10s in majors, while Scott, Schwartzel and two-time runner-up Westwood form a formidable chasing pack.

His game went south after that, with an 83 on Saturday - his highest score ever here - that included three double bogeys.

Round four will be broadcast from from 20:00 (CET) on Sunday night until 01:00 on Monday morning, followed by the Green Jacket Ceremony following the conclusion of the final round.

The leaders will tee off in about 90 minutes. The 46-year-old Mickelson was one shot behind until he sputtered down the stretch with three bogeys and two par saves over his last five holes for a 73. But, in less than an hour, he totally threw it away, handing the championship to Danny Willett.

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