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

Rose, who became the first English victor of the US Open for 43 years at Merion in 2013, carded a third round of 67 to finish six under par, with halfway joint leader Garcia shooting 70.

And Jordan Spieth running roughshod all over the place. Sergio is going to have a great opportunity.

"There's wonderful story lines" heading into the last round, Rose said.

World number two McIlroy's hopes of becoming only the sixth man to win all four majors at his third time of trying at Augusta look ever slim.

Rickie Fowler, another of the co-leaders, shot 71 to sit at 5-under, and will play in the second-last group with Spieth.

Garcia's win comes after 73 failed attempts to win the 81st Masters on his 37th birthday and what would have been the 60th birthday of his idol, two-time Masters champion and three-time (British) Open victor Seve Ballesteros, who died of brain cancer in 2011 at age 54.

"You have to play to win", Spieth said. Then he added, "I'm not getting ahead of myself". I have an opportunity. I guess when you play with someone you get along, it might help.

"After finishing 12th here in 2012, Garcia famously claimed he was not good enough to win a major, but said on Friday: "'I was frustrated then but I probably didn't accept things as well as I should have.

Fives birdies on the back nine, including three in the last four holes, gave the Englishman a 67 for the best round of the day and a share of the lead. Fowler and Spieth in the penultimate group. It's a good place to be since the victor has come out of that group 21 of the past 26 years.

Fowler is dominating all the putting statistics for the tournament and birdied all four par-5s on the way to his 71. "I like where I'm at, which is all you can ask for". "It's fun when playing with one of your good buddies". "I think had I been two or three shots behind, I still would have felt that I was in great position going into (Sunday), which leads me to understand everybody's mindset behind me".

Spieth, 23, won the Masters two years ago and was runnerup last year after losing a five-shot lead on the back nine. He said he is not about to go down quietly. Didn't we know that poor start was simply a launching pad into the rest of the Masters?

Only one player - Craig Stadler in 1982 - shot as high as 75 in the first round and went on to win. It's play aggressive or go home. Sergio Garcia received the kind of break that allowed him to wonder whether the golfing gods are finally on his side after all these years.

At the par-5 13th, Garcia's 4-iron approach from the fairway hit the grassy bank in front of the green and began trundling back toward Rae's Creek.

"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. "You just have to roll with it and realize sometimes you're going to get good breaks and sometimes you get not-so-good breaks. But at the end of the day, that's part of the game".

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.

Jordan Spieth (6th) put together a second consecutive sub-70 round to get to within two shots, tied with Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman, who led the first two days and most of Saturday before his tee shot on 16 found water and led to a double bogey.

Adam Scott, the 2013 champion lies in seventh on three under following a 69 with 2011 victor Charl Schwartzel eighth on two under thanks to a third-round 68, one ahead of European Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters. That's all you want but really it starts on the back nine on Sunday.

  • Rosalie Stanley