What's Buzzing:

Watson drops into Masters tie with young Spieth

Reuters
U.S. golfer Bubba Watson waits to putt on the seventh hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta
.

View gallery

U.S. golfer Bubba Watson waits to putt on the seventh hole during the third round of the Masters golf …

By Larry Fine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Bubba Watson squandered an early five-stroke advantage and was caught by 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who tied him for the lead at the end of a pressure-packed third round of the Masters on Saturday.

Spieth, playing with patience and discipline belying his years, posted a solid round of two-under-par 70 to match Watson at five-under-par 211 on a sunny day at Augusta National that baked the famed greens to lightning speeds.

Watson, the 2012 champion, needed to curl in a four-foot par-saving putt at the last to retain a share of the lead on a day in which he struggled around Augusta's notoriously contoured greens.

One stroke back were Matt Kuchar, who fired a 68, and Masters first-timer Jonas Blixt of Sweden (71).

Another shot adrift at 213 were American Rickie Fowler (67) and 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who had seven birdies and one bogey in a tournament low score of 66.

An eagle at the par-five second hole helped Watson improve his overnight lead to a five-shot cushion, but that disappeared under a spell of bogeys that turned the year's first major into a taut battle on a crowded leaderboard.

Three bogeys in four holes from the fourth dropped Watson into a tie with Blixt and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark at five under par with nine holes to play.

Ten players were bunched within two shots of the lead at that point, with Spieth emerging as co-leader after a round that included four birdies and two bogeys over the treacherously fast putting surfaces.

"Just patience," Spieth said about the key to his round. "We could tell early on that the greens were ridiculous. You had to put the ball on the right spots and can't let your focus stray for one moment."

Spieth, who began the day four shots behind midway leader Watson, would eclipse Tiger Woods as the Masters youngest winner should be prevail. Woods was 21 when he won in 1997.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jimenez could surpass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest Masters champion, after vaulting in contention by matching the lowest Masters score by a player over 50 years old held by Ben Hogan (1967) and Fred Couples (2010).

Three shots behind the co-leaders were England's Lee Westwood (70), Denmark's Bjorn (73) and Jim Furyk (72).

The 54-year-old Couples, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose of England, Australian John Senden and Kevin Stadler were grouped at one under par heading into what could be a wild shootout for the year's first major.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

View Comments (2)
  • Sepp Blatter deserves the Nobel Prize, Vladimir Putin says

    Sepp Blatter deserves the Nobel Prize, Vladimir Putin says

    The Russian president, speaking with Swiss TV on Monday, said the embattled head of FIFA deserves a Nobel Prize for his work. ''Thank you, President Putin, you make us happy and comfortable,'' said Blatter, who was making his first trip outside his … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 44 seconds ago
  • Beasley still interested in playing for national team

    A quick heads up to Jurgen Klinsmann: Should you ever need DaMarcus Beasley for national team duty again, just call. Beasley was coaxed out of his retirement from the national team by the U.S. coach for the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition and played … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • AP source: Rockies trade SS Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays

    AP source: Rockies trade SS Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays

    After all that speculation the past couple of years, the Colorado Rockies finally traded Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects late Monday night in a stunning swap of star … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
  • High rollers: Dealers describe special treatment, abuse

    Other high-stakes players described by a pit manager at Mohegan Sun, one of the world's largest casinos, throw chairs, scream at dealers and expect rules to be bent at the tables. ''All men are created equal except in the casino,'' said Glen … More »

    AP - Sports - 14 minutes ago
  • China denied dive sweep at world championships

    China missed out on sweeping the diving gold medals at the world aquatics championships when Tania Cagnotto won the women's one-meter springboard on Tuesday. Cagnotto led from the start, and held on through all five rounds for a winning score of … More »

    AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago