Justin Rose produced a stunning finish to vault into a share of the lead with Sergio Garcia as Jordan Spieth also charged into contention on an enthralling Moving Day at the 81st Masters.
Rose birdied five of the last seven holes to card a five-under 67, while Spieth continued his remarkable recovery from his first-round 75 as a 68 lifted him to within two of the lead, but Rory McIlroy will go into the final day six shots off the pace after failing to build on a bright start in his erratic 71.
Garcia put together a solid back nine and battled his way to a 70 to ensure a place in the final pairing on Sunday, and Rickie Fowler remained one off the lead after a 71, but long-time leader Charley Hoffman found water at the 16th and slipped two strokes behind.
Rose’s first two rounds were blighted by inconsistency, mixing nine birdies with eight bogeys, and his front nine on Saturday was much the same as he took six at the second followed by a birdie three at the next.
A bogey at six was righted by a birdie at the long eighth, but he finally put together a sustained run of form which was sparked by a fabulous tee shot to two feet at the 12th.
Rose gained further ground as he took advantage of both the par-fives, and his rock-solid spell of putting continued as he holed from 12 feet for his fourth birdie in six holes at the 17th.
And after knocking his final approach of the day to similar range at the last, he was already celebrating yet another birdie before his ball dropped in the centre of the cup.
Garcia remained firmly in the hunt to end his major misery, mixing two birdies with a pair of bogeys – including a missed par putt from three feet at the ninth – in an outward 36 before he got back under the card for the day with a good four at the 13th.
The Spaniard shaved the hole at 14 but jumped into a tie at the top with a four at the next, and he parred safely in to remain tied with Ryder Cup team-mate Rose, with the European pair leading Fowler by one.
Spieth struggled to make much happen over the early stages of his round and had to settle for five pars before getting a huge putt to drop for a birdie at the sixth. He shaved the hole for eagle at the eighth after a stunning second, using the bank to the right of the green, and another good putt at nine capped an outward 33.
Spieth boldly went for the green in two from the pine straw at 13 and found the target to set-up a two-putt birdie and get within two of the lead. And two became one at the 15th when, after a pulled drive forced him to lay up, he hit a near-perfect wedge which spun back to within inches of the cup for another gain to get to five under.
His bid for a faultless round stalled at the 16th when he pulled his tee shot and three-putted from close to the water, but he steadied himself to par the final two holes and remain at four under.
Fowler birdied all of the par-fives but littered his card with bogeys at the third, seventh and 10th as he ended the day in outright third and one clear of Spieth and Ryan Moore, who mixed six birdies with three errors in a 69.
Hoffman remained in at least a share of the lead for most of Saturday, picking up early birdies at the second and fourth and atoning for a bogey at six with another gain at the ninth.
He got back to seven under at the 13th, but he bogeyed the next and then came to grief at 16 when he pulled his tee shot way left and into the drink, and the resulting double-bogey five saw him slip to four under par.
Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, moved smoothly into the mix as he was the only player on the day to hand in a bogey-free card, which featured birdies at the second, eighth and 13th in a 69 which lifted him to three under.
Another former winner, Charl Schwartzel, fired a five-birdie 68 to jump to two under, while Lee Westwood has an outside chance of breaking his major duck after a 68 that included three straight birdies from the fourth and three in five holes in a back-nine 33.
Westwood moved to one under, while fellow English veteran Paul Casey made his only bogey of the day at the last to take the gloss off a 69 in which he birdied 12, 13 and 14 to finish alongside McIlroy on level par.