Late Spieth error leaves US Masters wide open, while Langer rolls back the years
Simon Sinclair | April 10, 2016
Defending champion Jordan Spieth put his chances of retaining his US Masters crown in jeopardy with a late error on the penultimate round at Augusta.
The 22-year-old looked to be heading into the final day of the competition with a healthy lead at six-under, but dropped three shots on the final two holes, including a double bogey at the 18th.
Spieth had a curious round as he mixed his brilliance in with loose strokes, none more so costly than his mistakes on the 11th and the final hole.
Spieth far from his imperious best on third round
The American displayed his mettle throughout the front nine, saving himself from several bogeys by holding his nerve with his putter.
After the turn, he appeared to be strengthening his grip on the Green Jacket with three birdies in four holes to move further ahead of the chasing pack.
However, two loose drives on the 17th and 18th led to trouble for the Texan, resulting in a bogey then double bogey to leave him just one shot clear of his compatriot Smylie Kaufman.
Spieth remains the overwhelming favourite to secure the title, though, with his odds at a compelling 11/8 with Coral.
McIlroy suffers third day slump
Rory McIlroy will need to produce an exceptional round on the final day to claim the Green Jacket for the first time in his career following his five-over 77.
The Northern Irishman began the day within four strokes of Spieth, but two bogeys on the front nine left him with work to do to get back into the frame.
McIlroy’s struggles on the early holes after the turn have haunted his past quest for the Masters title, and they again proved to be his downfall in his penultimate round as he carded a bogey at the 10th and a double bogey on the 12th.
As a result, the 26-year-old’s odds to win the competition have tumbled down to 18/1 as he trails Spieth by five shots.
Day rallies to keep himself in contention
Jason Day finds himself just three shots off the pace after a strong display on his third round to card a one-under 71.
The world number one struggled to find his best form on the opening two days, but he managed to keep himself in the competition and is now at even par heading into the final round after notching four birdies. Although, he will have been disappointed by his late bogey on the 16th.
Day has shortened his odds for the title due to his improvement and is now backed at 11/2 (third-favourite) to clinch the Green Jacket.
Kaufman and Langer produce impressive rounds to keep pressure on
US Masters debutant Kaufman (14/1) was solid in his first two rounds at Augusta, but produced an excellent display to move into second place, carding a three-under score of 69.
The 24-year-old remained error-free on the front nine, but was pegged back by a bogey on the 11th. However, he held his nerve and showed great composure to nail three birdie putts to put him within one shot of the defending champion.
Meanwhile, 58-year-old Bernhard Langer rolled back the years with a round of 70 to leave himself at one-under for the tournament. The two-time champion has outside odds of 33/1, but has the experience of winning on the final day so he could be well worth a punt.
Hideki Matsuyama (7/1) finished fifth in Augusta last year, and has an excellent chance to improve on his record and win his first Major later today.
The Japanese could well have been in a stronger position if not for two late bogeys on his round of 72, but he is only two shots adrift of Spieth and could well make a charge for glory on the final day.
Day Three leaderboard
Jordan Spieth -3
Smylie Kaufman -2
Bernhard Langer -1
Hideki Matsuyama -1
Jason Day E
Dustin Johnson E
Danny Willett E
Lee Westwood +1
Soren Kjledsen +1
Brandt Snedeker +1
Daniel Berger +2
Rory McIlroy +2
Justin Rose +3
Angel Cabrera +3
JB Holmes +3
Paul Casey +4
Adam Scott +7
Sergio Garcia +9
Bubba Watson +10
Ian Poulter +13