Augusta: Saturday is known as ‘Moving Day’ at the Masters and the chase is on at Augusta National in pursuit of leader Bubba Watson, who moved further ahead early in the third round of the year’s opening Major.
Watson, the 2012 champion, bogeyed the first hole but more than made up for that with an eagle at the par-five second to reach eight-under par and extend his overnight lead by one to four strokes on a warm, sun-splashed day at the classic course.
Jordan Spieth, at 20 aiming to overtake Tiger Woods as youngest winner of the Masters, birdied the fourth hole to share second place at four-under with Australian John Senden, who balanced a bogey at the first with a birdie at the second.
Representing the opposite end of the age spectrum from Spieth, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez made a statement for the older crowd by surging up the leaderboard to rest easy in the clubhouse at three-under 213 after a six-under-par 66.
Jimenez, who at 50 could surpass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters champion, had seven birdies and one bogey to join the hunt after starting the round 10 shots behind Watson.
“I was playing very solid all day, all day long,” Jimenez said. “I feel very nice. You know, beautiful day there, just light breeze sometimes. It’s great. Great to play golf on a day like that.”
Jim Furyk stood at three-under par (through five holes) along with Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Jonas Blixt of Sweden, who had both finished two holes.
The potential for low scores on a virtually windless start to the round was underlined by long-hitting American Gary Woodland, who shot up the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle over his first nine holes.
Woodland’s six-under-par 30 matched the record low score for the outward half by Johnny Miller (1975), Greg Norman (1988), K.J. Choi (2004) and Phil Mickelson (2009).
The two-time PGA Tour winner then added a birdie at the 10th to move within three shots of Watson. But Woodland, like so many others before him, fell victim to the dangers of Amen Corner, with a bogey at the par-four 11th, the first of the fabled trio of holes, and a double-bogey at the treacherous par-three 12th after hitting into Rae's Creek.
Woodland ended up with a three-under 69 for an even-par 216 total. (Reuters)