Spieth 18 Holes from Defending Masters Title

Jordan Spieth had a chance to all but close out much of the competition in the third round at Augusta National on Saturday in the third round.

Instead, his erratic ending opened the door to a menagerie of competitors including a Masters rookie, the No. 1 player in the world, and a guy who, if he won, would make 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus look like a pup when he triumphed in 1986.

Just another day at The Masters.

Spieth had a 4-shot lead with two holes to play, but bad tee shots led to a a bogey and a double-bogey saw him finish with a 1-over 73 and back in the mix.

He’s one shot ahead of Smylie Kaufman, the 24-year-old Masters rookie; and 58-year old German Bernhard Langer, who won here in 1985 and 1993.

Kaufman is trying to become the first man since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters on his first attempt. He had the best round of the day, a 3-under 69, that saw him rack up three birdies in a four-hole stretch.

Langer, the first man ever ranked No. 1, had won both of his Masters titles before Spieth was even born. If Langer were to emerge victorious, he would be the oldest Major winner by 10 years.  He birdied 13-15, and only a bogey on No. 18 kept him out of the lead.

Lurking just three strokes back are current No. 1 Jason Day, along with Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett. Day, in search of a third straight Major, scrapped together a 1-under 71.

And as crazy as it would seem in any other tournament, even Rory McIlroy, he of the 5-over 77 on Saturday, isn’t completely out of the race just yet. McIlroy is tied for 11th at 2-over, putting him just five strokes back headed to Sunday.



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