Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia

Augusta (Georgia), April 9 (IANS) English golfer Justin Rose (five-under 67) and Spaniard Sergio Garcia (70) shared the top spot at the 81st edition of the Masters after an exciting third round here.

Rose fired five birdies in the back-nine as he overcame a couple of birdies and bogeys each in the front-nine to score the best result of the day (67) on Saturday to share the top spot at a three-day total of six-under 210.

Rickie Fowler carded a 71 to be one stroke off the pace to be third, while American Charley Hoffman (72), Ryan Moore (69) and Jordan Spieth (68) shared the fourth spot on 212 total.

Adam Scott of Australia was seventh with a 69 that took his total to 213 after 54 holes at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Rose, winner of the 2013 US Open, said the course was in magnificent shape and gave him the opportunity to be rewarded for playing great golf, reports Efe.

The English player is looking to win his second major title and his first masters tournament.

“This is a place I dearly love and would dearly love to be part of the history here,” the 2016 Olympic champion told the tournament’s website.

“A one-shot lead starting the day doesn’t mean much. You’re going to have to go out and play a good round of golf, and I think there are going to be four or five guys pretty much with the same mindset.”

Garcia maintained the lead with just two bogeys and four birdies in the penultimate round, after overcoming difficulties to putt first holes, reports Efe.

“I was not comfortable in the driving range, but after a couple of holes, I picked up confidence, started to hit some good shots and putted very well,” Garcia told Efe.

It is the first time the Spanish golfer has led the field since the 2007 Open Championship, where he was defeated by Irish golfer Pradaig Harrington in a playoff.

Despite favourable conditions, there were several double bogeys, which held back players such as young Spanish golfer Jon Rahm, who finished tied at 11th position, and Hoffman, who shared the round with Garcia on the previous day.

Rahm, 22, said he was disappointed with his performance but that he had nothing to lose and would try to play less aggressively on the final day of the tournament.

Rose and Garcia will play the final round on April 9 — which also marks the 60th birth anniversary of the late legendary Spanish golfer Severiano Ballesteros — to win the green jacket.

“The stars are in a good place, but they are not perfectly aligned yet. Tomorrow will be a tough day and I will need to play well,” Garcia said when asked about the possibility of winning his first ever major title.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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