Rose, Garcia tied for lead at Masters in prelude to finale

Gutsy Scott leads Masters Aussie charge

However, McIlroy wasted no time in getting that shot back when play resumed on Saturday in far calmer and warmer conditions that had prevailed on the first two days.

He knows the Augusta National.

"It's always fun when you're playing with one of your good buddies". "Don't get me wrong: Obviously we're trying to win the Masters and we're trying to win tournaments, and there's obviously a little bit of pressure involved and everything that goes with it". Saturday's round began with a logjam near the top and, while some of the names are different, not much is different in terms of how close the players are to one another.

The day started with Hoffman, Garcia, Fowler and Belgian Thomas Pieters tied for first at 4 under. A debacle of a double-bogey on 15 was followed by a three-putt bogey on 16, before Couples finished 7 strokes back.

The Globe's most recent sports headlines delivered to your inbox every morning. Forty times in the 80 previous Masters, the victor was the third-round leader or co-leader. Fowler is one shot off the lead, while Spieth is part of a group at 4 under.

Spieth fired a 68 yesterday, running of a two-day span of 29 consecutive holes without a bogey that included nine birdies.

Jordan Spieth, trying to bounce back from his back nine meltdown in the Masters past year when he had a five-shot lead in his title defense, carded a 68.

Pieters turned in a record performance as a rookie in Europe's Ryder Cup defeat previous year and is certainly not phased about trying to become the first player to win on their Masters debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Garcia finally broke through in his 71st major as a professional, and almost 18 years after he was runner-up to Tiger Woods in a breakthrough performance in the PGA Championship.

"I take a lot of confidence from the fact that I played in the final group with Jordan [Spieth] in 2015 and played well", he said.

"Him and I could potentially get off to a good start, and we could really push each other. He was the one guy I liked myself".

Spieth also called upon a legend when he sized up his second shot on the par-5 13th, out of the pine straw.

Certainly not with some of the top golfers in the world nipping at Rose's heels. In the third round, everything clicked, especially on the back nine when he made five birdies in his last seven holes. He even got a fortunate break - yes, Sergio Garcia had that happen in a major - when his second shot on 13 dipped into the hazard, but stayed up on the shaved bank above the creek. He's only 23 and has two major wins, nine total PGA Tour victories and was a weak putt and a Jason Day away from winning a Grand Slam when he was just 21.

"It feels like I'm right where I'm supposed to be", he said. I already knew I had a chance and we did what we needed to do today.

And Rickie Fowler, who will "be all up for it tomorrow".

Ryan Moore completes the top-four. Sergio Garcia finally caught a good break in a major. I had a great chance on 11 and 14, and from where I hit my drive on 13 and 15, I should be making birdie there. "I sort of got the balance right today, but I didn't take my opportunities when I could have". Jordan Spieth will once again find himself in Butler Cabin on Sunday night, but this time it'll be Danny Willet handing him the green jacket.

England's Rose shot 67 and Garcia hit 70 to reach six under and overhaul long-time breakaway Charley Hoffman, who fell out of the lead for the first time since Thursday with a double bogey via the water at the 16th. "It is special but it's also just another course", Pieters said. "And I'm very optimistic I'm going to make a good run". "I'm looking forward to it. These are wonderful story lines".

"These first two rounds are probably the best I've ever played at Augusta", Garcia said.