Masters leader Jordan Spieth opened the door for the chasing pack as he dropped three shots on the final two holes while Rory McIlroy had a tough day at the office failing to record a single birdie.
The blustery conditions that hampered the field on day two returned on Moving Day, but Spieth battled the elements to open up a four-shot lead until he bogeyed 17 and then doubled the last to post a disappointing 73.Despite his late lapses, Spieth retaines the lead at Augusta for the seventh round running on three under par, but McIlroy slipped five strokes behind thanks to his error-strewn 77.
Spieth comfortably won his highly anticipated duel with McIlroy, following a birdie at the second with a run of eight pars which featured a number of clutch saves, but he undid much of his hard work when he three-putted the 11th to card a six.However, he bounced back with a superb two from 15 feet at the 12th, and he picked up further shots at 15 and 16 to go four clear of the field. But he missed a short par putt at 17 and drove into trees at the last before another short putt missed the target.
Rory McIlroy recorded his first bogey of the day when he came up short with his approach to the third, and after he did well to get up and down for par at the fourth he then three-putted the seventh. The 10th hole saw McIlroy drive into the trees and was forced to pitch out leading to a bogey. Things went from bad to worse on 11 when a wayward drive forced McIlroy to hook the ball out of the pines towards the green which ended up in the water. The resulting double-bogey saw the Northern Irishman drop back to two over par.
Smylie Kaufman defied the conditions to propel himself into outright second with a superb 69, while Bernhard Langer turned back time as he returned a 70 to get under par for the week.Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama shares third place thanks to his even par round leaving him on one under par while Jason Day remains in contention as he sits on even par heading into Sunday. Elsewhere Irishman Shane Lowry had a disastrous day returning to the clubhouse seven over par.
The Masters is wide open heading into the final day with conditions expected to ease hopefully bringing more birdies. Rory McIlroy will no doubt rue missed chances such as the six foot putt for birdie he missed on hole twelve but is not completely out of this race.