Golf | Masters

Jordan Spieth joins Bubba Watson on top at Masters

 

Jordan Spieth, 20, playing in his first Masters, shot a 2-under-par 70 to tie Bubba Watson for the lead at 5-under.

 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">History lesson: </span>Jordan Spieth, 20, who can become the youngest Masters champion with a victory, watches his drive on the par-5 15th hole on Saturday.
History lesson: Jordan Spieth, 20, who can become the youngest Masters champion with a victory, watches his drive on the par-5 15th hole on Saturday.
David J. Phillip / AP

Leaderboard

Name R3 To Par
T1. Jordan Spieth70-5
T1. Bubba Watson74-5
T3. Matt Kuchar68-4
T3. Jonas Blixt71-4
T5. Miguel A. Jimenez66-3
T5. Rickie Fowler67-3

•  Inside: Couples continues to contend at Augusta National, 6D

• Scores/Tee times: 6D

Final round: 3 p.m. Sunday, CBS


Special to the Miami Herald

Bubba Watson is a golfing savant, a player who always likes to boast that he never has had a lesson, never needed an instructor and plays by touch, feel and instinct.

On a preciously perfect afternoon of mild breezes and moderate heat Saturday at Augusta National, Watson looked to be in desperate need of assistance during his deflating third round in the 78th Masters. The 35-year-old 2012 champion squandered an eagle he made at No. 2 and a subsequent early five-shot lead with four front nine bogeys, and never could figure out how to conjure up some touchy-feely magic on the back side, either.

“It’s not science,” he said the other day. Yet, his nervous-Nellie play looked very much like bad science, particularly when he wasted wonderful opportunities to make birdies or better on the remaining three par-5 holes, the strength of his long-hitting game off the tee.

As a result, Watson blew the three-shot lead he owned after 36 holes and was tied at the top after 54 with 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, now himself in prime position to become the youngest Masters champion, and the first tournament rookie to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Watson made two critical par-saving putts at 17 and 18 and managed a 2-over-par 74 and a three-day total of 5-under 211. Spieth had his third consecutive under-par round, a 70 that included critical birdies at the 14th and 15th holes. Just as significant, while Watson appeared frazzled and frustrated for most of his nerved-jangling day, Spieth had the look and calm demeanor of a 10-year Masters veteran, not a first-year competitor.

No matter what, it promises to be a fabulous final round Sunday, when weather conditions are expected to be about the same — sunny, warm and a tad breezy — but with pin placements far more precarious on warp-speed putting surfaces Spieth described afterward as “just ridiculous.”

There are now 13 players within five shots of the co-leaders, and a white-hot round by any of them could mean one of those cool green jackets added to any of their wardrobes.

“I’ve won one, so I’ve got that going for me,” Watson said. “But if I play bad [Sunday], I still have a green jacket, so that’s the positive I have to go for. We’re all trying to win the same trophy. We are all trying to do the same thing. We are all going to be nervous, and we all know what it means to our career, for our status to move forward in the game. So it’s going to be tough for everybody, not just guys that have never won one.”

The closest pursuers to Watson and Spieth are popular American Matt Kuchar, still looking for the first major title of his career, and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, also a first-time participant here. Kuchar lost in a playoff a week ago at the Houston Open when his opponent, Australian Matt Jones, chipped in for birdie with a shot struck 42 yards from the flag.

Six days later, Kuchar came in with a 68 Saturday for a 4-under total of 212. Blixt, who played at Florid State, tied for the lead several times during the day, finished with a 71, his third straight subpar round to join Kuchar within a shot of the lead.

“I’ve been playing some nice golf now for three weeks,” said Kuchar, who tied for third here in 2012 and tied for eighth a year ago. “These greens are as fast as I ever remember seeing Masters greens, a bit on the frightening side. But it’s what we come here for. It’s very exciting to have another crack at it. … I have confidence playing golf with a chance to win. It’s a lot of maturity.”

The best round of the tournament came earlier in the day when a very mature Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain posted 6-under 66 to get within two shots of the lead at 3-under 213. At 50, he still has his hair tied in a ponytail and no doubt celebrated Saturday night with a baseball bat-sized cigar he loves to smoke on the course, as well.

But make no mistake, the man known as “The Mechanic” has all the tools necessary to contend for his first major title and become the oldest ever to win here. Jack Nicklaus, who won in 1986 at age 46, now holds that distinction.

“My game plan is to be aggressive,” Jimenez said. “A lot of things can still happen. It’s about passion and staying calm. You need to be very strong-minded. I feel great. I feel fantastic. I like the feel of the knot in my stomach.”

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  • PGA European - Omega European Masters Preview

    Thursday, September 4th through Sunday, September 7th Course Info Site: Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club (Alpine Course), Crans Montana, Switzerland Course Architect: Fremantle and Gedge (1906), M Nicholson (1929 - redesign), Par: 70 Yardage: 6,848 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,507 Yds 1 - Par 5 540 Yds 2 - Par 4 446 Yds 3 - Par 3 191 Yds 4 - Par 4 503 Yds 5 - Par 4 364 Yds 6 - Par 4 324 Yds 7 - Par 4 331 Yds 8 - Par 3 175 Yds 9 - Par 5 633 Yds Back Nine: 35 3,341 Yds 10 - Par 4 406 Yds 11 - Par 3 217 Yds 12 - Par 4 417 Yds 13 - Par 3 195 Yds 14 - Par 5 559 Yds 15 - Par 5 516 Yds 16 - Par 3 235 Yds 17 - Par 4 394 Yds 18 - Par 4 402 Yds Tournament Info Year: 80th Television: Golf Channel - Thursday -- 5:30-7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 pm (et) - Friday -- 6-7:30 a.m. (et), 9:30-11:30 a.m. (et), - Saturday/Sunday -- 7-11 a.m. (et) Champion: Thomas Bjorn Runner Up: Craig Lee Tournament Record: 260 (Colin Montgomerie, 1996) 54-Hole Record: 193 (Patrick Sjoland, 1998) 36-Hole Record: 127 (Sandy Lyle, 1983) Course Record: 60 (Baldovino Bassu, 1971; Jamie Spence, 1992) Total Purse: $3,018,654 (2,300,000 euros) Shares: 1st Place - $504,423; 2nd Place - $336,278; 3rd Place - $189,463 2013 Final Leaderboard Thomas Bjorn * 264 Craig Lee 264 Victor Dubuisson 265 Alejandro Canizares 266 Miguel Angel Jimenez 269 Ross Fisher 269 Gregory Havret 270 Brooks Koepka 270 Three players at 272 Past Winners 2013: *Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Craig Lee 2012: Richie Ramsay (267). Runner up: Fredrik Andersson Hed, Marcus Fraser, Danny Willett, Romain Wattel 2011: Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Martin Kaymer 2010: Miguel Angel Jimenez (263). Runner up: Edoardo Molinari 2009: Alexander Noren (264). Runner up: Bradley Dredge 2008: *Jean-Francois Lucquin (271). Runner up: Rory McIlroy 2007: *Brett Rumford (268). Runner up: Phillip Archer 2006: Bradley Dredge (267). Runner up: Francesco Molinari, Marcel Siem 2005: Sergio Garcia (270). Runner up: Peter Gustafsson 2004: Luke Donald (265). Runner up: Miguel Angel Jimenez 2003: Ernie Els (267). Runner up: Michael Campbell 2002: Robert Karlsson (270). Runner up: Trevor Immelman, Paul Lawrie 2001: Ricardo Gonzalez (268). Runner up: Soren Hansen 2000: Eduardo Romero (261). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1999: Lee Westwood (270). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1998: *Sven Struver (263). Runner up: Patrik Sjoland 1997: Costantino Rocca (266). Runner up: Robert Karlsson, Scott Henderson 1996: Colin Montgomerie (260). Runner up: Sam Torrance 1995: Mathias Gronberg (270). Runner up: Costantino Rocca, Barry Lane 1994: Eduardo Romero (266). Runner up: Pierre Fulke 1993: Barry Lane (270). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jimenez 1992: *Jamie Spence (271). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1991: Jeff Hawkes (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros 1990: Ronan Rafferty (267). Runner up: John Bland 1989: Seve Ballesteros (266). Runner up: Craig Parry 1988: Chris Moody (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Anders Forsbrand, Ian Woosnam 1987: Anders Forsbrand (263). Runner up: Mark Mouland 1986: Jose Maria Olazabal (262). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1985: Craig Stadler (267). Runner up: 1984: Jerry Anderson (261). Runner up: Howard Clark 1983: *Nick Faldo (268). Runner up: Sandy Lyle 1982: *Ian Woosnam (272). Runner up: Bill Longmuir 1981: *Manuel Pinero (277). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Tony Johnstone 1980: Nick Price (267). Runner up: Manuel Calero 1979: Hugh Baiocchi (275). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Dale Hayes, Delio Lovato 1978: Seve Ballesteros (272). Runner up: Manuel Pinero 1977: Seve Ballesteros (273). Runner up: John Schroeder 1976: Manuel Pinero (274). Runner up: Dave Hill 1975: Dale Hayes (273). Runner up: Tienie Britz, Bernard Gallacher, Gary Player 1974: Bob Charles (275). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1973: Hugh Baiocchi (278). Runner up: Eddie Polland, Jack Newton 1972: Graham Marsh (270). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1971: Peter Townsend (270). Runner up: Manuel Ballesteros 1970: Graham Marsh (274). Runner up: 1969: Roberto Bernardini (277). Runner up: 1968: Roberto Bernardini (272). Runner up: 1967: Randall Vines (272). Runner up: 1966: Alfonso Angelini (271). Runner up: 1965: #Harold Henning (208). Runner up: 1964: Harold Henning (276). Runner up: 1963: *Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1962: *Bob Charles (272). Runner up: 1961: Kel Nagle (268). Runner up: 1960: Harold Henning (270). Runner up: 1959: Dai Rees (274). Runner up: 1958: Ken Bousfield (272). Runner up: 1957: Alfonso Angelini (270). Runner up: 1956: Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1955: Flory van Donck (277). Runner up: 1954: Bobby Locke (276). Runner up: 1953: Flory van Donck (267). Runner up: 1952: Ugo Grappasonni (267). Runner up: 1951: Eric Brown (267). Runner up: 1950: Aldo Casera (276). Runner up: 1949: Marcel Dallemagne (270). Runner up: 1948: Ugo Grappasonni (285). Runner up: 1947: Not Held. Runner up: 1946: Not Held. Runner up: 1945: Not Held. Runner up: 1944: Not Held. Runner up: 1943: Not Held. Runner up: 1942: Not Held. Runner up: 1941: Not Held. Runner up: 1940: Not Held. Runner up: 1939: Fifi Cavalo (273). Runner up: 1938: J. Saubaber (139). Runner up: 1937: M. Dallemagne (138). Runner up: 1936: @F. Francis (134). Runner up: 1935: Auguste Boyer (137). Runner up: 1934: Auguste Boyer (133). Runner up: 1933: Not Held. Runner up: 1932: Not Held. Runner up: 1931: M. Dallemagne (145). Runner up: 1930: Auguste Boyer (150). Runner up: 1929: A. Wilson (142). Runner up: 1928: Not Held. Runner up: 1927: Not Held. Runner up: 1926: Alex Ross (145). Runner up: 1925: Alex Ross (148). Runner up: 1924: P. Boomer (150). Runner up: 1923: Alex Ross (149). Runner up: * - Won in Playoff # - 54 Holes @ - Amateur Formerly called Swiss Open (1971-81), Ebel Swiss Masters (1982), Ebel European Masters Swiss Open (1983-1990), Canon European Masters Swiss Open (1991), Canon European Masters (1992-2000). Top Contenders Thomas Bjorn 2004: T-26 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: T-15 2011: Won 2012: mc 2013: Won Craig Lee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 74th 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: 2nd Victor Dubuisson 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: 3rd Miguel A. Jimenez 2004: 2nd 2005: T-13 2006: T-37 2007: mc 2008: T-3 2009: 4th 2010: Won 2011: T-9 2012: T-11 2013: T-5 Brooks Koepka 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-7 Paul Lawrie 2004: T-46 2005: mc 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-35 2012: T-6 2013: 12th Brett Rumford 2004: T-56 2005: T-69 2006: T-44 2007: Won 2008: T-23 2009: T-32 2010: T-13 2011: T-65 2012: T-19 2013: T-15 David Howell 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-7 2010: mc 2011: dq 2012: T-27 2013: T-26 Danny Willett 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: T-42 2011: T-25 2012: T-2 2013: T-26 Matteo Manassero 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: 3rd 2011: T-18 2012: T-34 2013: T-34 Gregory Bourdy 2004: 2005: mc 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-19 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-34 2013: T-44 Richie Ramsay 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: 34th 2012: Won 2013: mc Jamie Donaldson 2004: 2005: mc 2006: wd 2007: 2008: mc 2009: 2010: T-23 2011: T-3 2012: T-9 2013: mc Fabrizio Zanotti 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-47 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-45 2012: T-41 2013: mc Marc Warren 2004: 2005: 2006: T-4 2007: mc 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: T-9 2011: mc 2012: T-55 2013: mc Hennie Otto 2004: T-60 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-55 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-61 2012: T-64 2013: mc Darren Clarke 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-60 2010: T-15 2011: T-35 2012: T-71 2013: mc Pablo Larrazabal 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-48 2012: mc 2013: mc Mikko Ilonen 2004: wd 2005: mc 2006: T-7 2007: T-18 2008: T-32 2009: 2010: T-9 2011: 2012: mc 2013: mc Peter Uihlein 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: mc Bernd Wiesberger 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-6 2013: Shane Lowry 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: George Coetzee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-25 2012: 2013: NOTES: The European Tour travels to Switzerland this week for the Omega European Masters. With the best players on the European Tour competing in the United States on the PGA Tour at the FedExCup Playoffs, only three players ranked in the top 30 of the world are in the field - Victor Dubuisson (21), defending champion Thomas Bjorn (26) and Jamie Donaldson (28).

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