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Category: Masters 2015

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Jordan Spieth gets some early homework done at Augusta National

• Guys are calling you ‘Champ’, says last year’s winner
• Masters champion feels scoring will be harder than in 2015

Jordan Spieth, the Masters champion, has spoken of the difference in visiting Augusta National as the holder of the Green Jacket.

Spieth, who will feature in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, spent the early part of this week at Augusta, his second trip since cantering to the title last April. Spieth also believes his 2015 tally of 18 under par will not be easily matched in five weeks’ time, as the tournament organisers take a grip of the course’s set-up.

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Jordan Spieth brings local knowledge to his US Open golf campaign

The Masters champion Jordan Spieth is in ominous form for the US Open and his caddy, Michael Greller, is one of a very few who are familiar with the course at Chambers Bay
Jordan Spieth could be No1, says Justin Langer

So is Jordan Spieth back? Or had he simply never been away? The golden boy of United States golf confirmed every theory that he will be a major player for a considerable time yet with his wire-to-wire, imperious flawless at the Masters. The immediate aftermath of chat show appearances and less impressive results was only natural. Spieth didn’t linger for long at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and missed the cut before Rickie Fowler triumphed at The Players. When at Sawgrass, Spieth was clearly uncomfortable with technical aspects within his swing.

What happened next serves as a warning to the remainder of the US Open field. Spieth tied second at Colonial in late May, didn’t card more than 69 the following week at the AT&T Byron Nelson – including one round of 64 – and was in a share of third by the time last weekend’s Memorial Tournament concluded. While not identical, this form is similar to Spieth’s Masters buildup. For one so young, he is seeking to be the epitome of how to build a season around major championship golf.

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Jordan Spieth brings local knowledge to his US Open golf campaign

The Masters champion Jordan Spieth is in ominous form for the US Open and his caddy, Michael Greller, is one of a very few who are familiar with the course at Chambers Bay
Jordan Spieth could be No1, says Justin Langer

So is Jordan Spieth back? Or had he simply never been away? The golden boy of United States golf confirmed every theory that he will be a major player for a considerable time yet with his wire-to-wire, imperious flawless at the Masters. The immediate aftermath of chat show appearances and less impressive results was only natural. Spieth didn’t linger for long at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and missed the cut before Rickie Fowler triumphed at The Players. When at Sawgrass, Spieth was clearly uncomfortable with technical aspects within his swing.

What happened next serves as a warning to the remainder of the US Open field. Spieth tied second at Colonial in late May, didn’t card more than 69 the following week at the AT&T Byron Nelson – including one round of 64 – and was in a share of third by the time last weekend’s Memorial Tournament concluded. While not identical, this form is similar to Spieth’s Masters buildup. For one so young, he is seeking to be the epitome of how to build a season around major championship golf.

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Jordan Spieth’s second-round 62 puts him among RBC Heritage leaders

• Masters champion aims for third win in five tournaments
• Spieth’s second-round score one off David Frost’s record
• Jack Nicklaus: Guys like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy energise golf
• Jordan Spieth: How I won the Masters, hole-by-hole

Jordan Spieth recovered the form that helped win the Masters last Sunday as he hit a nine-under-par round of 62 at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Friday.

After suffering a difficult first day to shoot 74, the 21-year-old moved up into third place on the early leaderboard after his round, which was just one more than the course record set by David Frost in 1994.

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Jack Nicklaus: young guys like Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy energise golf

• Nicklaus: Spieth’s Masters win was an incredible performance
• World’s top two players currently have combined age of 46
• How Spieth won the Masters: his hole-by-hole account

Jack Nicklaus believes it is time for the “young guys to take over” after Jordan Spieth’s record-breaking Masters victory on Sunday.

Nicklaus was hugely impressed by Spieth’s four-shot win over Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson, which saw him set 36- and 54-hole scoring records, equal the 72-hole record set by Tiger Woods in 1997 and also become the first player ever to reach 19 under par at Augusta.

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What is the finest performance you have ever seen from a young sportsperson?

Jordan Spieth showed composure and maturity beyond his tender years as he broke a series of records at Augusta National over the weekend. Which other young athletes have shown as much promise in their fledgling careers?

When Nick Faldo won the Masters back in 1996, he called Augusta National the “most nerve-wracking course in the world”. When Jordan Spieth strode around its glorious greenery this weekend, he looked like a man out for a leisurely afternoon stroll with his dog. Spieth later admitted that he had struggled to sleep on Saturday night but on Sunday afternoon he ambled around the course with an air of relaxed supremacy rarely seen in a competitor so young.

The 21-year-old’s self-assurance and steady perfection turned the most exciting weekend in the sport’s calendar into something approaching an anticlimax. Ben Crenshaw, the two-time Masters champion who has mentored Spieth, says that holding the young man’s gaze is “like looking at Wyatt Earp”. That inscrutability was on show on Sunday evening as he made his way from tee to fairway to green and all the way to the green jacket. As Spieth answered every question the golf course asked of him, viewers looking for some drama had to turn to the battle for second place that was developing between Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, a trio of grand masters who share 10 majors between them.

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Jordan Spieth: how I won the Masters, hole-by-hole

The new Masters champion delivers an in-depth hole-by-hole account of how he dealt with the pressure and conquered his ‘favourite tournament in the world’

The Masters has a lot of traditions. One of the smaller ones is that during the champion’s press conference the moderator will always ask the winner to “go through the card”. Which is an invitation for them to describe their club choices during the final round. Often as not, the players will roll their eyes. At this point, they have better things to be doing. In 2013 Adam Scott was so excited about his win that he couldn’t even remember which clubs he had used to play which shots. The same with Bubba Watson in 2014. Both rattled off a perfunctory list and left to get to the champion’s dinner. Jordan Spieth, though, was so intensely enthused by his win that he delivered, off the top of his head, a 15-minute, 2,600-word monologue describing exactly how he won his “favourite tournament in the world”. It was, in its way, a brilliant hole-by-hole account of how he played the final round, and what went through his mind while he was doing it. It was also the last of the many records Spieth set this week: surely the longest answer ever given to a simple question in the history of the Masters.

Here it is, in full:

I hit a three wood off No1 tee-box and had a good kind of smooth nine iron into the green. Tried to bleed a little fade. Got it to land where I wanted and putt where I wanted to, which was a very straight putt coming right back up the hill. Justin obviously made his putt to start and it was really nice to drop one on top to start the round.

Made: birdie

I hit three wood to stay short of the bunker. I picked a shot each day to stay just short of that bunker. I think I was driver once and three wood the other three days. I actually had a good number into the green and so I took a three wood out again. No part of me was going to lay up there. I hit a really good shot that just needed to be maybe two or three yards shorter when it landed and it may have fed close to the hole. Instead it was above the hole. Should have pitched it; decided to putt it. Didn’t get it all the way down there and then misread the second putt. Three putt there for par.

Made: par

I laid back with a five iron off the tee. Had a pitching wedge into the green, which was a little too much club into that hole. Ideally I would have liked to have been up further. But I hit the pitching wedge on a number, got it to where it was a putt that if it would at least be a par, if not a birdie; it’s a sucker pin, and just hit one of the better putts I’ve ever hit. I hit that putt five times in the practice round knowing that that’s where I wanted to be. And I fed it out there and it broke five feet from a 12, 15-footer. It fed out there and went in with perfect speed in the middle. I gave a little fist-pump after that, excited to be two under through three and be back even with Justin on the day.

Made: birdie

I gave a little fist-pump after that, excited to be back even with Justin

I hit four iron in, stayed just above the ridge. I was 225 yards adjusted, I think. Hit a putt a little past it and made that four-footer, kept it in the right side of the hole.

Made: par

I hit three wood off the tee left, which was not ideal. Tried to hook a seven iron around the trees. Didn’t quite get enough hook on it, so I left it in a spot that you don’t want to be. Didn’t get the chip on the green and that’s really all I had to do. Left it just short and it was actually a good bogey from there, a good two putt. Made a nice six-footer for my bogey, which could have saved the round right there.

Made: bogey

I hit a six iron. Tried to fade it in. I hit it really straight and it ended up pin-high which was three or four feet higher from the front of the green, so it was a little easier to putt. Hit a really good putt in there and tapped it in. That’s the kind of stuff I was looking for all day.

Made: par

I hit driver right again and hit a six iron through a little gap in the trees, which may not have been the smartest move, but I didn’t really like any other options at that point. Got a bit unlucky because if it wasn’t into either of the sand traps, it would have been a pretty easy up-and-down. Instead it’s in between and I don’t have a stance. I’d be interested to see a picture of that. Half my feet were dangling over the bunker. I was just standing on my toes with the club almost on my toes and hit actually a really good pitch to get it to a makeable length. It’s just a tough putt. It’s another one you have to cast out to the side, and it’s a feel-based putt. I just didn’t quite hit it hard enough to hold its line. So that was two bogeys in three holes to get back to even. I was disappointed at that time.

Made: bogey

Eight was a big tee shot. If I hit it in the bunker there, I hit it in the left rough; then it makes the hole a lot harder. It was a big tee shot to hit in the fairway. I hit a hybrid out there just short of the green. If I had killed a hybrid it may have chased on. Otherwise it was going to be just short and I had a very basic up-and-down. Just a straight pitch up, funnelled probably the left side of the hole and made about a three-footer to get back under par.

Made: birdie

Good drive on nine. Hit eight iron into the green. Stayed up by a rotation. Last year, it seemed like it was one rotation from staying up. And at that moment when I went up and marked that ball, I said: ‘This could be a difference-maker.’ Like it was just last year versus this year. I felt more comfortable. That ball stays up. Last year it came down. It was just symbolic in a way. Made par there. Rosey had a three-putt and that gave me a five-shot lead going to the back nine. I was aware of that at the time. I was trying to play Rosey match play from there.

Made: par

I was trying to play Rosey match play from there

I hit three wood off 10. Hit a good eight iron in below the hole. Got it left of the pin. Hit a putt that broke left-to-right, and it went in with perfect speed to really steal one there. You don’t necessarily expect to birdie 10. I think I birdied it three times this week. I played it three under and that’s a hard hole. That was the key hole I think for me this week.

Made: par

Hit a bad drive. Had to clear the crowd out. It was nice because it was almost gravel over there and it was mowed down. So I knew if I could just get something running with a four iron, it would chase up towards being even with the front of the green and I would have about a 30 to 40-yard pitch straight up the green. I got a nice little hook on that second shot and it got down to the base, too. It couldn’t have hit a better shot, second shot on 11. I didn’t have many other options and a lot could have gone wrong there if it just catches a pine needle and goes up in the air and hits a tree. It could have been a big number. Hit a great, great pitch and was in a good position, but left it to where it was just a two footer, right centre. Ideal, and really just stole a stroke back. Felt like I stole one on 10 and 11. Really with where I was, statistically should have been one over. Instead I was one under on those two holes.

Made: par

I hit it over the bunker instead of like last year going at the pin and hitting it in the water. Hit it in a good spot, just too aggressive. Kind of a dumb three putt.

Made: bogey

Hit three wood off 13. Got a nice little hook on the ball and a really good bounce to get up there to a comfortable five iron in. I think 13 were the two biggest shots I’ve ever hit in my life. Coming off a three putt and Justin being in a pretty good spot off that tee, I needed to do something. I needed to birdie that hole, because otherwise I think I would have dropped – Phil ended up making eagle – but it would have been around three strokes or something with five or six to play and anything can happen here. So I missed the five iron a little. I was trying to go a little left and just kind of hit it a little straight, kind of hit it a little off the toe. I was yelling, you know, ‘Get up, get up.’ When it landed, from my angle, I thought it hit short in the water and all of a sudden the roar came up and the pitch-mark was right on that little peninsula. And there was another moment where I thought, this could be destiny, just like No 9. This was symbolic. Last year I missed a short birdie putt and now I had a good look at eagle. It’s nice to get a birdie.

Made: birdie

I hit a drive and I hit a seven iron in I thought was going to be good when it landed, but it pitched over down the slope, still in a good spot to two putt from. Made about a three-footer.

Made: par

I hit driver and I was left with the same scenario I had two other times that week, round one and round three, and that was a number where if I hit a good, solid four iron, it’s perfect. And if I go to hybrid, it’s probably too much club but it’s not in the water. But if I miss a four iron, it could very easily go in the water. First day I chose hybrid when I probably should have hit four iron. I ended up making bogey from over the green. Yesterday I hit a four iron and just hit it really solid, led to a tap-in, a two-putt birdie. But today I wasn’t going to hit four iron. I was going to make sure I was over the green at that point and I put a really good swing on a hybrid, picked a straight line. When I hit it, I thought maybe it would catch some breeze or fall a little short, and it actually carried past the pin and went over the green. Hit an average chip. Ideally would have liked to have gotten it past the hole to where I was below the hole. But I didn’t carry it far enough. It hit short of the green and came down a little bit and then made a really good six-footer that had to start outside the hole. Pushed it a little and it still stayed on the right side.

Made: birdie

I was trying to hit a smooth seven iron. Could have been an eight iron, but at the time the wind was kind of flipping. If I knew that it was going to be down, I would have just ripped an eight; instead we hit to seven. Justin hit a seven, I think he hit a seven iron, and when he hit it, he thought it was long on his line up on top of the slope, and instead it just actually pitched short of the pin. That changed actually what I thought about the shot. I was just going to hit a nice smooth, high fade off the pin and drop it short right of the hole there and there wasn’t going to be any trouble with it. Instead I thought I had to hit it harder because I thought maybe the wind was doing something different or whatever. Just came over the top.

Then I got over that shot and I’m sitting there going, ‘this is I think Tiger in 2005. This is the shot. Let’s chip this thing in.’ I think that’s arguably the greatest shot that’s ever been hit in major championship golf given the time and what it meant for him. And I was sitting there looking at a little easier chip, but the same kind of pitch it up; missed the chip and had a five-, six-footer that I had to play about six inches outside the hole on, or maybe even a foot. At that point, I was with my putter. Didn’t care what it looked like. Didn’t care my posture. Didn’t care the mechanics. It was all feel-based. I was seeing the line. I was seeing the arc of the putt.

You know, this is a huge moment. Let’s knock this thing in

I drove it. I hit seven iron again. Wanted to just make sure that I landed on the green. Flushed that one up in the air and it got it really easy. It got it below the hole with a 15-, 18-footer, couldn’t have asked for more. Putted it up there to an inch, tapped in, went to 18 with a four-shot lead.

Made: par

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Jordan Spieth’s Masters victory sets up a riveting rivalry with Rory McIlroy

The 21-year-old’s stunning Augusta triumph makes him the most serious threat to McIlroy’s status as the world’s best golfer
• Masters 2015: final day – in pictures

When Rory McIlroy offered hope for a strong rivalry at the summit of golf recently, it was Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler that were mentioned as the most legitimate challengers to his position at the top of the world rankings. Jordan Spieth wasn’t part of the discussion.

How a sporting scene can change. On Monday morning, Spieth was confirmed as No2 in the world. At 21 he is a major champion and a player with a record in four starts of first, second, second and first. In cold, hard cash that run has earned hi more than $4m inside a month, and for the first time since the system was introduced in 1986 the top two ranked players in golf are 25 and under.

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Tiger Woods unsure of next outing following ‘proud’ return at Masters

• Woods: ‘It’s not going to be for a while. I have a little time off’
• World No111 finished joint 17th at Augusta after closing round of 73
• Jordan Spieth looks to win back-to-back Masters after triumph
• Darren Clarke: Woods’ return to form is great for golf

Tiger Woods says he is in no hurry to play again despite being “proud” with improvements to his game that resulted in a heartening performance at the Masters.

Woods had started just two tournaments in 2015 before competing at Augusta National, shooting a career-worst 82 at the Phoenix Open and then withdrawing after 11 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open due to injury.

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Masters 2015: final day – in pictures

The best images from the final day of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National

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Jordan Spieth looks to win back-to-back Masters after Augusta triumph

• Spieth looks ahead after atoning for last year’s final round
• American consigned Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose to joint second
• Spieth joins the greats
• Andy Bull: McIlroy and Woods a dream pair, but on another day

Jordan Spieth immediately set his sights on retaining the Masters, after becoming the second youngest winner in the event’s history with a four-shot success at Augusta National on Sunday.

Spieth eased over the line, with Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose consigned to joint second and Rory McIlroy fourth. The 21-year-old’s final round of 70 enabled him to match the best Masters aggregate of 18 under, by Tiger Woods in 1997.

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Jordan Spieth the young Master joins greats after stunning Augusta win

• Spieth seizes his first major at 21 in wire-to-wire victory
• Texan wins by four shots from Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson
• Masters 2015: final round – as it happened
• Spieth targets back-to-back Masters wins
• Andy Bull: McIlroy and Woods a dream pair but on another day

Precious few major championships are defined by a single player. Those that are offer a nod towards current or impending greatness. At 21, Jordan Spieth now deserves his place among the game’s aristocracy.

What a tremendous Masters climax this would have been, minus Spieth as the detached, triumphant part of the field. Over four days the Texan looked like a kid playing a golfing computer game with the cheat password typed in. Seasoned onlookers could be seen scratching their heads, flicking back through history for comparison. They were not readily found.

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Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods a dream Masters pair but on another day

Rejuvenated Tiger and a closing 66 from the world No1 were not enough to unnerve the new young Master, Jordan Spieth, at Augusta
• Masters final round: as it happened
• Spieth joins the greats after Augusta success
• Young master targets back-to-back success

Rory and Tiger paired together, tied on six shots under at the start of Masters Sunday, could have been a dream scenario. The problem was that they were 10 shots back from Jordan Spieth, whose play over the previous three days had been as good, in its own way, as all but the very best the two of them had produced in their time. Nike’s copy writers might have cut at least a couple off Spieth’s lead if they had been writing the script. With that, this would be pretty much the same scene they had set in the advert they released at the beginning of the week – seven days and an age ago – which showed the young McIlroy watching wide-eyed as Woods won the Masters back in 1997. The ad ended with the pair of them, McIlroy an adult now, hitting a couple of drives and walking off down the fairway together.

And so it went, at 2.30 in the afternoon. Right then the tournament was still alive with possibility, as every Sunday always is at the Masters. If Woods could just conjure up the form he found on the front nine on Saturday, when he went out in 32, well what then? And if McIlroy could manage to play all 18 in the way he did the back nine on Friday, when he came home in 31, who was to say what would happen? Spieth had said that he was going to try and get round Augusta without looking up at the leaderboards. But you cannot shut out the roars, not when they are as loud as the ones the patrons give to McIlroy and Woods when they score birdies and eagles. The crowd around them on Sundayy was, by a distance almost as great as Spieth’s lead, the biggest of the week.

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Masters 2015: Why players still say their prayers on ride through Amen Corner

The fearsome stretch of the Augusta course has curious origins, devilish winds and a rightful place in sport’s pantheon
• Live – the final round of the Masters with Scott Murray

“Brothers and sisters, we’ve got hypocrites in this crowd. Brothers and sisters, some of you is shouting too loud. You’ll find out on judgment day, that you can’t fool the lord that way. You can shout with all your might, but if you ain’t livin’ right, there’s no use shoutin’ in that Amen Corner.”

So sang Mildred Bailey, on an RCA recording back in 1935, the very same year that Gene Sarazen hit his double eagle on the 15th, The Shot Heard Round The World, and won the second Masters. The year too, that Augusta National decided to switch around its front and back nines, giving the course the shape it has had ever since.

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Masters 2015: Why players still say their prayers on ride through Amen Corner

The fearsome stretch of the Augusta course has curious origins, devilish winds and a rightful place in sport’s pantheon
• Live – the final round of the Masters with Scott Murray

“Brothers and sisters, we’ve got hypocrites in this crowd. Brothers and sisters, some of you is shouting too loud. You’ll find out on judgment day, that you can’t fool the lord that way. You can shout with all your might, but if you ain’t livin’ right, there’s no use shoutin’ in that Amen Corner.”

So sang Mildred Bailey, on an RCA recording back in 1935, the very same year that Gene Sarazen hit his double eagle on the 15th, The Shot Heard Round The World, and won the second Masters. The year too, that Augusta National decided to switch around its front and back nines, giving the course the shape it has had ever since.

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Darren Clarke welcomes Tiger Woods’ return to top form as ‘great for golf’

• Ryder Cup captain delighted old friend is back to his best
• Clarke on Ian Poulter: ‘That’s best I’ve seen him play’
• Masters 2015: final round – live!

Darren Clarke can be counted among those within professional golf who are the most delighted by the stirring showing of Tiger Woods at the Masters. Clarke may also be the least surprised.

Clarke and Woods have a long-time alliance, as highlighted again when the 14-times major winner took to the Augusta National course on Monday. On the short game area, Woods made straight for the Northern Irishman, whom he afforded a warm embrace.

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Masters 2015: final round – as it happened

Jordan Spieth became the second-youngest winner of the Masters after yet another display of determined brilliance at Augusta National

12.17am BST

And so to the Butler Cabin. Spieth will receive his fancy new togs, last year’s winner Bubba Watson doing the honours. But first an interview with CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz. “It was very nerve-wracking. I thought today may be easier having played a round with the lead, but it wasn’t. I didn’t sleep well last night. It’s the most incredible week of my life. This is as great as it gets in our sport. To be honest, it still hasn’t kicked in. I’m still in shock a bit. I’m sure it will kick in soon. And I wanna be like Bubba, I want to win two Masters!” There’s determination for you. Quite a few players will have gulped hard upon hearing that. Bubba helps Spieth on with his green jacket, and the business of the 79th Masters Tournament is complete.

And that’s us done here. Thanks for staying with us for the four days. Next stop: Chambers Bay for the US Open. You will join us for that, won’t you, as we find out whether anyone can stop the force of nature that is 21-year-old Masters champion Jordan Spieth …

12.07am BST

As we wait for Spieth to be presented with his green jacket in the Butler Cabin, time to take a gander at the final leaderboard. Look at some of the names he’s seen off!

-18: Spieth
-14: Mickelson, Rose
-12: McIlroy
-11: Matsuyama
-9: Casey, Poulter, D Johnson
-8: Mahan, Z Johnson, Hoffman
-6: Fowler, Moore, Haas, Streelman, Na
-5: Garcia, Woods
-4: Stenson, Oosthuizen
-3: Henley
-2: O’Meara, Bradley, Reed, Wiesberger, Cabrera, Els
-1: Stricker, Hoffmann, Simpson, Day, Blixt

12.03am BST

Spieth walks through a tunnel of patrons as he makes his way to the scorer’s cabin, a sea of hands on each side demanding fives. The ecstatic young man might not be prone to histrionics, but he’s only too happy to oblige all of them. Slap slap slappity slap. What a performance! He won the 79th Masters Tournament on Thursday, really, with that 64. But his other rounds have been equally impressive. The 66 on Friday scattered the field, and was arguably a better display of ball control and course management. And his two 70s at the weekend were stubbornly brilliant, as he steadfastly refused to buckle. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose, major champions both, took a few runs at him yesterday and today, but they were seen off every time with the minimum of fuss. It’s a performance beyond his 21 years. He’s the second-youngest Masters champion of all time, behind Tiger. That’s some achievement in itself.

11.57pm BST

JORDAN SPIETH IS THE 2015 MASTERS CHAMPION! A slight anti-climax as his par putt slides past the hole, and he drops back to -18. So no low-scoring record for him: his 70 today means he merely shares that with Tiger Woods on 270. But does he care? Oh I don’t think so! He taps home, rocks back and forth in relief, smiles broadly, hugs his caddy, receives warm thanks from Rose, takes his cap off and puts it back on again … he doesn’t know what to do with himself! No tears or melodrama, just the warm glow of reaching the top of the golfing ladder! A hug for mum and dad as the patrons of Augusta salute their modest new champion! Magical scenes.

11.53pm BST

Augusta National rises to give Jordan Spieth the thundering ovation he deserves as he makes his way up the hill at 18. What a champion this young man is. His performance on all four days has been nothing short of astonishing. He chips up to eight feet. Rose, to the right of the green, putts up to ten feet. He’ll have that uphill putt to finish second on his own. But he can’t make it, the ball staying up on the left. A final bogey, and he signs for a 70, and a share of second spot at -14 with Phil Mickelson. He never quite got going today. But the stage is now clear for Spieth.

11.49pm BST

Rose finds the fairway at 18, in perfect position on the dogleg. Spieth spins in irritation as he sends yet another tee shot into trouble on the right, a constant affliction this week. But it’s not really cost him, has it? He’s on the pine needles under the trees, though, and while that drive won’t cost him the Masters, it might cost him the low-scoring record. But he’s fizzed his second, a low iron, up to the front of the green. Not quite on it, but a chance of getting up and down, and posting a 72-hole total of 269, one better than Tiger Woods’ work here in 1997.

11.44pm BST

Spieth nearly sinks his 20-footer from the back of the green. Par. And one more par will see him break the all-time low scoring record at the Masters. Two putts for Rose, and that’s another par. Up on 18, Mickelson flops up onto the green, but he’s facing a 12-footer to save his par. It won’t make much difference, as he’s got two shots on McIlroy in fourth place. But it’ll matter to a competitor like Mickelson, no doubt. And he rolls it in! A stylish finish by the three-time Masters champion, who signs for a final-round 69, in third place at -14. Charley Hoffman ends his Masters with a par, and a slightly disappointing 74. But he’ll look back at a fine week, a top-ten finish at -8 in only his second-ever Masters.

11.40pm BST

Spieth’s second to 17 finds the back of the green and leaks off a little to the left, but there’s no drama there. Rose knocks his to 15 feet. Up on 18, Mickelson nearly clatters a few patrons to the left of the green. He’s a picture of misery, so close and yet so far away from his fourth green jacket.

11.36pm BST

Up on 18, McIlroy drains one across the green for a valedictory birdie. He’s come back in 32, and matches Matsuyama’s best-of-day 66. He’s the new clubhouse leader at -12. That would win the Masters in many a year. But not when Whirlwind Jordan’s tearing through the grounds. A 73 for Tiger, and he ends the week at -5. That’s some achievement when you consider the apocalypse many had predicted. He’s back, baby! Which can only be good for golf. We’ve missed him. Meanwhile Mickelson’s approach to 17 is arrowed right at the flag, but 25 feet short. A half-chance for birdie, though. It’s a long, slaloming putt, and he can’t guide it home. Par. He stays at -14.

11.32pm BST

Spieth bumps his ball up onto the glacial green, well left of the hole, and sends it curling back down to the right. But it’s short, and he’s left himself a very tricky, snaky ten footer for his par. Rose thinks he’s drained his birdie effort, but it dies to the left at the last. He looks to the sky and sighs, perhaps aware that his last chance to apply pressure to Spieth is gone. And then Spieth knocks the par putt into the centre of the cup, no messing. It would have been so easy to miss that! It’s utterly astounding! He walks off the green pumping his fist, having dealt with another emergency with the minimum of fuss. What a talent this young man is. What nerves of steel.

-19: Spieth (16)
-15: Rose (16)

11.24pm BST

Rose turns his back on his tee shot at 16 in disgust, but it’s difficult to know why. It’s not particularly close, but it’s dead on line, and he’s left with a 15-footer for his birdie. Spieth, perhaps feeling the nerves kick in, steps away from his ball at address, then on the second attempt hits a hot, adrenalin-fuelled iron through the green and down the bank at the back. A tricky little chip up to the flag awaits, but then it did at the last hole, too, and look what happened there.

11.20pm BST

Rose takes his putter out. He really needs some magic to happen now. He rattles a long putt up the green from 60 feet or so, but it stops a good five feet short. You feel that birdie putt’s an absolute must, and even then he’s kind of clutching at straws. Especially as Spieth clips a crisp chip up onto the green, his ball stopping six feet short. Then the young leader holes the birdie putt. Brilliant! Ice-cool! He claps his caddy on the back, the first suggestion that he knows the job is pretty much done. As things stand, he’ll be posting a record low score on his way to victory. Rose meanwhile makes his birdie, his third in a row, but he’s still four behind. And on 16, Mickelson tidies up for par.

-19: Spieth (15)
-15: Rose (15)
-14: Mickelson (16)

11.15pm BST

Mickelson’s tee shot at 16 is straight at the flag, but short, and lands softly in the sand. He flops his second out of the trap, 12 feet past the cup, and sends it spinning back. The flag’s out, waiting for birdie bedlam, but the ball’s always missing on the right. He’ll have a four-footer for par. Back on 15, Spieth’s approach clears the water but also bounces through the green. He’ll have a testing chip back up with not too much green to play with. It’s now or never or Justin Rose … and it’s nearly never, his 5-iron only just clearing the water, finding the front of the green, and toppling back towards the drink. But it Fred Couples on the bank, and stays dry. Dearie me!

11.11pm BST

A couple of wonderful drives down 15 by Spieth and Rose. Poulter signed for a 67, and he’s in the clubhouse at -9 alongside Casey – and Dustin Johnson, who rolls in a curly 20-footer on the last for birdie, and a 69. None of them are the clubhouse leader, though, because Dustin’s playing partner, Hideki Matsuyama, has raked in a birdie putt of his own on the last to sign for a best-of-day 66! What a stunning round! He’s -11 for his week’s work, a stunning performance by the 23-year-old Japanese star!

11.07pm BST

Mickelson, in the sand to the front right of 15, splashes out onto the green and sends his ball on an inevitable journey into the cup! An eagle! Suddenly, he joins Rose in second spot, four behind the leader!

-18: Spieth (14)
-14: Mickelson (15), Rose (14)
-11: McIlroy (16)
-10: Matsuyama (17)

11.05pm BST

Paul Casey sinks an 18-footer for birdie on the last hole, and he’s signing for a 68. A great week for the Englishman, who is the new clubhouse leader at -9, and will be coming back next year for another go. A great week for Casey. Back on 14, Spieth lags his putt up to the hole from distance, perhaps three feet short. Rose applies a little pressure by rolling in his birdie putt, a fast and very missable downhill effort. Magnificent birdie! But Spieth holes out. He’s four ahead with four holes to play. And hold on …

11.00pm BST

Spieth’s second to the 14th finds the green, but turns off to the right, 40 feet from the flag. That’s where Mickelson just three putted from. Rose fires his approach straight at the flag, leaving himself a ten-footer for birdie. Spieth’s reaction to his slightly loose shot: “Oh gosh!” That registers 11 on the Official Guardian Apple Pie-o-Meter™.

10.57pm BST

Mickelson’s race is run, as he dribbles a four-foot par putt past the cup at 14, a three-putt bogey. He’s back to -12. Up on 15, Rory is one turn of the ball away from eagle, but birdie will do, and he rises to -11. Birdie for Tiger too, but he’s back down at -6. Up on 18, a bogey for Zach Johnson, but he signs for a 68. He’s in the clubhouse at -8, the current clubhouse leader alongside Hunter Mahan, who shot 67 today. “Never having met him, I feel well qualified to comment on young Spieth’s personality,” begins Simon McMahon, who has a bright future as a broadsheet columnist if he wants one. “He appears to be an unflappable type, focused and very much in control of his emotions, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing tears or wild celebrations on the 18th once his seemingly inevitable victory is confirmed. Maybe he’ll channel Andy Murray who, when asked by reporters this weekend how his wedding went, replied ‘Alright, thanks.’ How does it feel to be Masters champion at age 21 having broken all records in the process, Jordan? ‘Alright, thanks.’”

10.52pm BST

What time is it? It’s Dustin Johnson Meltdown Time! Double bogey at 16, as he finds the water. He’s back to -8. Tiger prods timidly at a five-foot par putt on 14, and gives a shot back to the field. He’s -5. Neither Rose nor Spieth make their eagle putts on 13. Birdies.

-18: Spieth (13)
-13: Mickelson (13), Rose (13)
-10: Matsuyama (16), McIlroy (14)

10.46pm BST

“Go hard! Go hard!” Spieth creams a long iron straight at the flag on 13. It only just gets over Rae’s Creek, but once it’s on the green, it’s scampering to eight feet. What a shot! His heart was in his mouth as that ball was in mid-air, but it was perfectly judged. He’s got an excellent chance for eagle, which will close this Masters out for good. Rose follows him into the green, and he’s got a good chance for eagle himself from 15 feet, but we’re about to see the destination of the 2015 Masters confirmed, though if we’re being honest with ourselves we’ve known for a while now. Ever since Thursday evening, perhaps!

10.41pm BST

Rose’s drive on 13 nestles in the second cut to the right of the fairway, but that’ll be OK. Spieth booms a 3-wood down the left. He’s in good position too. Hoffman misses his eagle putt, a really poor effort if we’re being honest. He’s back up to -8, but that’s not really good enough. Mickelson meanwhile takes two putts from distance for birdie, and he’s in second spot now, within four of Spieth. The gap’s closed a little, but Spieth could easily be opening it up again quite soon, back down the generous par five in prime position.

-17: Spieth (12)
-13: Mickelson (13)

10.38pm BST

Spieth races his 30-foot putt six feet past the hole at 12. His return putt stays out on the right, and that’s a small mistake. Bogey. Rose can’t take advantage by rolling in his birdie effort from 15 feet, but par at least makes some in-roads. Up on 13, Mickelson’s second is on the green but miles from the flag and not in Eagle Country at all. Hoffman reminds everyone of his presence by knocking his second to six feet. He’s back at -7 right now, three over for his round, and could do with knocking that in.

-17: Spieth (12)
-12: Mickelson (12), Rose (12)

10.31pm BST

Woods and McIlroy cream their second shots into the 13th, setting up eagle chances. Tiger curls his into the cup, a perfectly weighted right-to-left curler from 20 feet. Rory can’t make his from 15 feet, but a birdie will do. Tiger’s level par for his round again, and -6 overall; Rory is four under and -10. Back on 12, Spieth lands his tee shot on the green. The last threat of real disaster around Amen Corner is gone. Rose finds the putting surface too, but the look on his face suggests he knows the jig is up.

10.28pm BST

Spieth is going to be a throughly deserving winner of the 2015 Masters! He bumps his pitch to three feet, and scrambles his par. The amount of players who have failed to get up and down from that swale this week, and he’s making it look simple while closing out his first major championship at the age of 21! This is astonishing. Rose can’t make his 20-footer for birdie. Par. Mickelson can’t drain his birdie putt on 12. Par. This isn’t over. But it is over.

10.23pm BST

Spieth has found a clearing in the woods. He might be able to have a go at the green from the pine needles. But Rose goes first, finding the middle of the putting surface, albeit not in Birdie Country. A little pressure on Spieth, then. After taking an age, he whips his ball down the hole, into the Larry Mize Swale to the right of the green. Playing the percentages there, choosing not to mess with the water. Mickelson clips a lovely tee shot at 12 to 18 feet. And it’s back to back birdies for Poulter, this time picking up a shot at 15 to move to -9.

10.15pm BST

A break for Lefty on 11, as he nearly dumps his second into the water down the left. It stays up on the fringe. That looked for all the world like it would topple back into the drink. He chips up to a couple of feet to save his par. Back on the tee, Spieth slices his drive into the woods down the right. Rose splits the fairway. He’ll be hoping Amen Corner is about to do something very unpleasant to Spieth. The next few minutes could be interesting. Here’s Mike Johnson: “Spieth has Goudas won the 2015 Masters.” Tennille!!!

10.12pm BST

Rickie Fowler’s in with a 67, equalling Jamie Donaldson’s best of day. He’s the clubhouse leader right now at -5. Rose’s long right-to-left curling putt from the front of 10 nearly finds the cup, but he’ll have to make do with par. Not enough in the circumstances. Rose or Mickelson need to apply some pressure on Spieth soon … and in fact it may be too late, because Spieth has just drained his birdie putt from the side of the green! A perfectly judged left-to-right slider up the sloping green, and he’s six clear now!

-18: Spieth (10)
-12: Mickelson (10), Rose (10)

10.08pm BST

Mickelson in prime position off the tee down 11. Up on the green, birdie for Rory, who moves to -9. He’ll leave Georgia tonight thinking about his slow start to the week. Birdie for Poulter on 14, and he’s -8. Back on 10, Spieth and Rose are in the centre of the fairway. Spieth is up first, and his ball rests on the fringe to the left. Pin high, though. Rose finds the front of the green, but he’s well short of the hole. Rose needs more than that, and tells of frustration are beginning to leak all over his gameface.

10.05pm BST

Mickelson knocks his birdie putt in on 10. That was no more than his approach deserved, and he’s now in a share of second with Rose at -12. But still five behind Spieth. Birdie for Dustin at 13; he’s back to -10. Eagle for his playing partner Matsuyama, who has simply romped through Amen Corner! Birdie at 10, 11 and now this eagle. He’s -10 too. “I’m trying to Brie reasonable, but it looks like a Feta-compli for Spieth now,” writes Simon McMahon. “Blame Grant Tennille.”

10.01pm BST

What a shot by Phil Mickelson! He’s in the second cut down the right of 10, and fades one in to five feet! That was a gorgeous approach, and he’ll have a wonderful chance of birdie. It’s now or never for Lefty, you feel. But in any case, it’s not looking like Spieth is going to give the inch he’ll probably need to give. He lags up his long putt at 9 to a couple of inches, and taps in for par. He’s reached the turn in 35, one under, and remains at -17. Rose, faced with a large right-to-left break, sends his ball six feet past the hole, and can’t bury the return. Bogey, and suddenly Spieth is five in the lead. Rose and Mickelson have both threatened to make runs at Spieth, but their performances have been deceptive. There’s been a bit of ebb and flow, but not enough for their liking. The young man is in complete control of this. It’s his to lose. Amen Corner’s coming up soon, and that, you sense, is the chasing pair’s only remaining hope.

-17: Spieth (9)
-12: Rose (9)
-11: Mickelson (9)

9.54pm BST

Bogey for Dustin on 12 brings the big man’s birdie charge to a meek end. He’s back to -9. Spieth and Rose send their tee shots down the right of 9. Spieth’s approach lands on the front of the green, and considers going on a Greg Normanesque scamper back off down the fairway, but holds. Just. He’s been the best player this week, no question, but he’s had the rub of the green when it’s mattered, too. Compare and contrast to Rose’s tee shot at 4, for example. A dimple here, a dimple there, and this four-shot lead could be cut in half. Then again, hit your shots with confidence and brio, and chances are you’ll be rewarded with more good fortune than those who gingerly faff about. Rose meanwhile skelps his approach into the heart of the green, and will have a look at a birdie from 25 feet or so.

9.49pm BST

Spieth and Rose are both greenside at the par-five 8th in two strokes. Spieth bumps up to four feet, but Rose has a trickier lie to the right of the green, and sends his ten feet past the hole. He can’t knock the birdie return into the cup, and when Spieth converts his birdie, the four-stroke lead is re-established. Mickelson meanwhile misses a five-footer for par on 9, a three-putt bogey, and that’s a very productive couple of moments for Jordan Spieth. “Were Rose’s 7th hole a type of sandwich, surely it would be made with par-mental cheese!” Grant Tennille there, serving up a pun platter.

-17: Spieth (8)
-13: Rose (8)
-11: Mickelson (9)

9.41pm BST

That was pretty intense. Goodness knows what’s going to happen around Amen Corner! Tiger reaches the turn in 37 strokes, -5 overall. He’s shaking his right hand, perhaps having jarred it while playing off pine needles a while back. But let’s not panic too much: he’s just fist-bumped with a pal in an Augusta green jacket, so it can’t be too bad. Rory made it there in 34, two under for his round, and -8 overall. And up at 12, Poulter has just birdied to move to -8. He’s three under for his round. Other big movers of the day: the 2007 champion Zach Johnson, who is four under through 12 and -8 overall, and Hideki Matsuyama, three under today and on the same tournament mark. And another birdie for Dustin Johnson, after bombing a drive down 11 and sailing an approach to 12 feet. Time for a fuller leaderboard, perhaps.

-16: Spieth (7)
-13: Rose (7)
-12: Mickelson (8)
-10: D Johnson (11)
-8: Z Johnson (12), Matsuyama (11), McIlroy (9), Hoffman (8)

9.34pm BST

But poor Spieth, so generous of heart, can’t knock in his par putt. He doesn’t hit it hard enough, and it dies off to the left of the cup. Rose knocks in his putt for the most outrageous of pars, and Spieth taps in apologetically for bogey. A few minutes previously, Rose’s challenge was in the balance, disaster a very real possibility. But in the end, he’s the one picking up a shot on his opponent. That’s the beauty and frustration of golf, right there, in a nutshell. And up on 8, Mickelson makes birdie on the par five. He was seven behind the leader not so long ago, but now he’s within striking distance again! What a swing of momentum!

-16: Spieth (7)
-13: Rose (7)
-12: Mickelson (8)

9.30pm BST

Spieth wedges to the back of the green, looking to use the slope like Mickelson did a few minutes earlier. His ball curls all around the green to six feet. And a lovely moment just before he took his shot, as he reacted to Rose’s wedge wizardry: a thumbs up to his friend, and a wide, warm smile of acknowledgement. In the heat of battle, with the Masters up for grabs, that’s lovely to see. What a lovely, polite young man! Grannies across the globe will be falling in love right about now.

9.27pm BST

Oh this is astonishing! Rose whips a wedge miles into the air, lands it in the middle of the green, and sends it spinning back towards the cup. It’s going in! It’s going in! It’s not quite going in, rolling an inch to the right of the cup. It rolls six feet below the hole, it’s not dead, but he’d have taken that 30 seconds ago. A wonderful shot! It’ll be a sickener for him if he fails to knock in his par saver.

9.25pm BST

Spieth has a shot over the trees, and finds a gap between two bunkers at the front of the 7th green. A fine escape from trouble, with an added sprinkling of good fortune. No such luck for Rose, who was snookered by a tree trunk and squirts his ball up into further trouble down that side of the hole. His ball might have hit another tree further up. But this is big trouble for Rose, who was standing on the tee having seen Spieth drive into trouble, and has subsequently made a pig’s lug of the hole. He’s got a good lie down the right, but there’s a huge bunker between his ball and the hole, a good 50 yards of distance, and not much green to play with on the other side. If he’s not careful, his Masters challenge could be almost over here.

9.21pm BST

News of Tiger. He bogeyed 4, and then 7, but he’s taken a step back in the right direction with a birdie at 8. He’s -5, and let’s be totally honest, few thought he’d be here this weekend at all, never mind in the top 15. His playing partner Rory registers back to back birdies, at 7 and now 8. He’s -8, nine behind the leader but tied for fifth. No career grand slam yet, and the chance of a McSlam’s flown out the window, but he’s currently on course for his best-ever finish at Augusta, beating his tie for eighth last year.

9.18pm BST

Spieth gets his driver out of the bag for the first time today, and flays it into the trees down the right of 7. Trouble there! And Rose follows him in! The pressure’s on all right. Meanwhile yet another birdie for Fowler, who raps in a 25-footer on 16 to move to -7. And Dustin misses a 12-foot birdie chance on 9. He’s reached the turn in 33, nonetheless, a fine effort that’s hoisted him into fourth spot, which he has sole ownership of now, as Hoffman has bogeyed 7 to drop to -8.

9.16pm BST

A shot of absurd genius from Mickelson on 7. He’s battling to save his par, off the front of the green, and sends a lob to the back of it. The ball considers stopping, but it then starts rolling back gently, picking up pace and eventually stopping 18 inches from the cup. What a way to make par! Another birdie for Fowler, on 14, following up his eagle at 13. He’s -6 for the tournament, and must be ruing his slightly stodgy opening two rounds. Rose opts to lob his second shot at 6 high into the air, but only succeeds in flying the ball straight through the back. An outside chance to save his par from the fringe, but that’s a 15-foot tester, the odds are against. Spieth lags his long putt up to 18 inches and will save his par. And Rose can’t make his par. His first dropped shot of the day. There’s no real momentum in this battle yet, but Spieth’s lead remains, and he’s getting closer to home.

-17: Spieth (6)
-13: Rose (6)
-11: Mickelson (7)

9.07pm BST

A third birdie on the spin for Dustin, this time at 8. He’s -9 now, and tied for fourth with Hoffman. Back on 7, Rory shapes one from out of the trees to four feet, and knocks in the birdie putt. He’s -7. On 6, Rose anxiously bites his lip as he watches after a whipped 7-iron; it teeters on the ridge running through the centre of the green, before toppling backwards and miles off the front. What an up and down he’s left himself there. Spieth plays it ultra-conservatively, making sure he gets on the top tier by playing into the fat of the green to the back left. Problem is, the pin’s over on the right. Both players with work to do, though Rose is in more bother off the front.

9.02pm BST

Rose flings his bunker shot out of the trap at some pace. For a second it looks way overcooked, but the ball puts the brakes on immediately, screeching to a halt four feet past the flag. That’s a marvellous shot from there, though there’s still work to do. Spieth is down a large bank, and tries to bump the ball up it. He doesn’t commit, and the ball doesn’t even scamper up to the top before falling back a little. He’s going to putt from the bank now, as he’s only just off the green and the surface is as fast as you like. He sends a soft putt inches wide right of the hole, but it still zips six feet past. He does well to knock in his bogey putt, limiting the damage. Rose knocks his par putt in, and is racing after it to pluck it out of the hole before it even drops, so confident was he. The lead’s only three again. On 6, Mickelson’s tee shot is straight through the back of the green, but he does marvellously well to get up and down, a lovely lob up the bank nearly rolling in for birdie. He’s still -11.

-17: Spieth (5)
-14: Rose (5)
-11: Mickelson (6)

8.56pm BST

Rose and Spieth both clack 3-woods down the 5th fairway. Spieth nearly finds the big bunker on the left, but he’s OK. Rose is more central, but pulls his approach into a bunker to the back of the green. That’s opened the door for Spieth, but he pushes his iron down the bank to the left of the green. The sand shot is probably the more pleasant prospect, but only just. Both men are facing tricky tests to save their pars.

8.53pm BST

Mickelson’s never in position at 5, driving into a fairway bunker, hacking out, spinning a poor wedge 20 feet from the flag, and missing the par putt. He drops back to -11. He’s level par, and it’s just not happening for Lefty. Hoffman pars the hole and remains at -9, one over for his round. Unless something very strange happens – Mickelson suddenly catching fire and going on a glorious birdie burn, perhaps – this is beginning to look like a shootout between Spieth and Rose. Everything’s in Spieth’s favour, but Rose is at least still within striking distance should something dramatic occur.

-18: Spieth (4)
-14: Rose (4)
-11: Mickelson (5)

8.48pm BST

Rose, aiming ten to fifteen feet left of the hole, rolls his huge putt at 4 to four feet. That’s a very decent lag from long distance. Spieth next, and he overhits his slightly, leaving himself six or seven feet coming back. He tickles it in, a superb par saver. He walks off perfectly happy with his par, and his brilliant start to the round of his life. Rose rolls his par putt in too. He’s staying on the leader’s shoulder. On 7, another birdie for Dustin; he’s -8.

8.43pm BST

Henrik Stenson, the world number two (though perhaps not for very much longer if Spieth wins today), is enjoying himself right now. He’s birdied 13, birdied 14, and now eagled 15. He’s five under for his round, and -5 for the tournament. Rickie Fowler is going well, too; after getting wet and dropping a shot at 12, he’s rattled in a long eagle putt on 13, and he’s four under for his round, -5 overall.

8.40pm BST

Spieth’s tee shot at 4 is in the safe part of the green, Mickelson Country. Not much chance of birdie from there, but then again Lefty nearly drained his, so you never know. Spieth looks anxiously after his shot, ever the perfectionist. Rose pulls his a bit further left. He’s faced with a monster, and putting first will give Spieth a read, too. Meanwhile Bubba is determined to go out with a bang. After finding water at 12 for double bogey, he’s eagled 13. That’s Bubba’s second eagle of the day, his first coming at 2, but he’s had five bogeys and a double, and is three over for his round still, +2 overall. You wouldn’t have him any other way.

8.37pm BST

Spieth knocks in his birdie putt! Rose can’t follow him in, a timid stroke stopping two feet short of the cup, although the line was good. The lead’s four shots again. But this is a superlative start by the leading duo. Time will tell if it turns into a duel, or a procession. Spieth certainly looks like he’s going to hold his nerve, but of course the Masters on Sunday can do very funny things to super-talented golfers.

-18: Spieth (3)
-14: Rose (3)
-12: Mickelson (4)

8.33pm BST

Spieth’s second at 3 finds the centre of the green and rolls towards the back. He’ll have a 20-footer across the green for his birdie. Rose’s ball nearly spins off the front, but stays on the dancefloor. He’ll have a straight-ish putt up the green from a similar distance. Mickelson nearly drains his left-to-right monster on 4, the ball dying just before the hole. Smiling broadly, as is Phil’s wont, he settles for his par. A 40-footer into the cup at 6 by Dustin Johnson, and that’s his first birdie of the day after a run of pars. He’s -7. And Poulter caresses an iron at 7 straight over the flag to six feet, then knocks in the putt for birdie. He’s -6.

8.28pm BST

At 4, Tiger finally breaks the run of pars in his match, but only by dropping a stroke, missing his saver from ten feet, a left-to-right curler staying out on the high side. Rory pars, but should have done better having knocked his tee shot pin high to eight feet. From the same position as Tiger, he learned nothing from his putt. Back on 3, Rose and Spieth whistle their irons down the middle of the hole. And on 4, Mickelson lands a 5-iron into the centre of the green, but he’ll be 30 feet from the flag on the right.

8.24pm BST

But Rose tickles in his birdie putt, an excellent, calm, measured stroke that was always going straight into the middle of the cup. He looks extremely controlled so far. That’s a birdie-birdie opening. And to think he usually starts cold, with a bogey or two, round here! Not today. Spieth, perhaps spooked by Rose’s placid demeanour, then prods his birdie putt right of the hole in a very uncertain fashion. That was a terrible putt, a nervous tock that’s cost him a precious shot. The lead is suddenly only three, and the 79th Masters is very much on!

-17: Spieth (2)
-14: Rose (2)
-12: Mickelson (3)

8.19pm BST

Spieth opts to putt from off the back of 2. He takes an awfully long time to think about it. He addresses the ball, but breaks off. The patrons guffaw nervously. He steps up again, and prods gingerly at the ball, feared it’ll race off down the glacial green in the hot style. Somehow, he underhits it. It was dead on line, breaking left to right, but he’s left with a testing five footer for his birdie. Rose is up next, and he races his 50-footer a good eight feet past the pin. With Spieth inside him by half the distance, that already looks like a crucial putt for Rose. He’ll really, really want to make it.

8.13pm BST

Fine approaches into 2 by both Spieth and Rose. The former overcooks his by a couple of joules of energy, his ball toppling off the back. The latter undercooks his by a couple of joules of energy, and he’s left with a long putt up the green. A bit less/more and both balls would have been curling left to right towards the cup at the back right. Still fine up-and-down chances for birdies, though. More pars meanwhile for Rory and Tiger, this time on 3.

8.11pm BST

It’s not quite happening for Mickelson yet. Not good news, as he needs it to happen quickly. His flop from the side of 2 only just reaches the fringe of the green. But he stabs the birdie putt straight into the hole from the longer grass, forcing the ball in through sheer will more than anything else. It is happening for him after all! That was a clack of frustration, hit hard enough so the subtle breaks of the green had little effect. Meanwhile his playing partner Hoffman nearly spins a wedge back into the cup for eagle, and then misses the ten-footer he’d left himself. A shame, but he already looks slightly defeated. If he’s not to win this tournament, he deserves to stay in the mix for a high finish. He’s been excellent this week.

-17: Spieth (1)
-13: Rose (1)
-12: Mickelson (2)

8.07pm BST

Spieth and Rose both boom superb drives down the middle of 2. Sergio sets himself up for birdie at 8, but his putt from 12 feet stays out on the left. He cocks his head back in despair, but he’ll be staying at -5. On 14, Sangmoon Bae has just holed out from 166 yards, pitching his ball at the back of the green, sending it rolling back into the pin tucked in the corner for a spectacular eagle! He’s level par for the week.

8.04pm BST

Pars for both Tiger and Rory on 2, the pair missing very makeable birdie putts from six feet. They’re too far back, realistically, but still, those need to be going in. No such worries back on 1, where Rose drains his birdie putt, forcing Spieth to knock his in too. Rose’s stroke was as smooth as you like, though Spieth’s shorter effort threatened to stay up on the right before dropping. Silly thing to say about a player who is leading the Masters by four and has just birdied the opening hole, but Spieth looked a little nervous and tentative there. He was more assured with his wedge coming into the green than waving his flat stick. But what a start by the leading pair!

-17: Spieth (1)
-13: Rose (1)
-11: Mickelson (1)

8.00pm BST

Mark O’Meara, 58, signs for a 68. He ends the week at -3, an astonishing performance from the 1998 Master. Rose’s approach to the opening green is a smooth stroke to 20 feet. Spieth’s is even better, catching the ridge in the middle of the green, his ball rolling back to within 12 feet of the pin. He’ll have a good look at birdie from there. “Props to Poults for channelling a Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack vibe with his checked pants and golf shirt combo,” writes Simon McMahon. “More of this please. Most golfers are far too stylish and coordinated, not to mention fit, these days.” I’m still reeling from Jason Dufner’s weight loss. Et tu, Jason? A betrayal up there with Adam Richman giving up the Man vs. Food challenges and turning vegan. Whoosh! There goes that USP, and a whole load of charm!

7.56pm BST

Mickelson gets up and down from the front of Tea Olive, knocking in a seven-foot saver that’ll calm his early nerves. He stays at -11. Hoffman, however, can’t escape with par despite that heroic approach, missing the short putt and dropping back to -9. I wonder if that’s his race already run? Back on the tee, the final pairing of Spieth and Rose are out, and the pair split the fairway. Meanwhile Kevin Streelman has birdied 2. It’s all happening now.

-16: Spieth
-12: Rose
-11: Mickelson (1)
-9: Hoffman (1)
-7: Streelman (2)

7.53pm BST

A solid start by Ian Poulter, who birdies 2 and is -5 overall through 3. “I went to school with Poulter in Hertfordshire and it’s great to see him start the final round well today,” writes Rob Harrison. “He was never as flamboyant as he is now back then, and his subsequent claims that he chose golf over football are somewhat fantastical seeing as we were both marooned in the school second team. But he’s forever been my one claim to fame and I’m sticking with him. I just hope we see cojones from him today.” Yes, me too. I never understand the flak Poulter gets. Yes, he’s a little bit gauche, but so what? He’s always entertaining, is a constant presence in the majors, is a star at the Ryder Cup, and is a pretty damn talented player. All this stuff about him forging a career out of sheer determination and not much talent is a little bit patronising in my book. Anyone who can shoot a 67 round this track, as he did yesterday, must have a little more than that going on. Let’s see if he can beat his Masters best of seventh place. He’s tied in tenth right now.

7.49pm BST

Mickelson’s behind a tree, but can fire a low shot out of trouble and onto the front portion of the green. Hoffman was snookered by a tree, and was forced to take his medicine and hack forward. His third is lifted into the heart of the green, ten feet from the pin, a lovely shot which gives him a chance to save his par. Meanwhile up on 18, Steve Stricker birdies to sign for a 68. He ends at -1.

7.45pm BST

Sergio’s in the middle of 7, the perfect position. “The pin here is in the easiest position on the entire course,” says six-time winner Jack Nicklaus on the Sky commentary. And so Sergio dumps his approach in the bunker. To be fair to him, he flings the ball out of the trap to six inches, a majestic splash. He stays at -5. A magnificent up and down from off the back of 3 by Casey, who bumps up a huge bank to four feet and knocks in the par saver. He stays at -6.

7.42pm BST

But the business end of the 2015 Masters starts right now. Phil Mickelson’s on the tee! He lashes his drive down the fairway, and looks anxiously after it. Sympathetic applause. That’s leaked off to the left. Charley Hoffman meanwhile hoicks his tee shot into the trees down the left. That’s not as bad a shot as Tiger’s, but it’ll be in more trouble. Up on the green, Tiger and Rory make their two-putt pars. They’re both still -6.

7.39pm BST

Driving like a madman is all part of Tiger’s charm, of course. Hey, it had no effect on Seve’s magnetic attractiveness, either, did it. And he is indeed in the middle of the fairway: the 9th fairway. Cue an escape, not quite of Severianoesque magnificence, but good enough, over the trees and onto the front of the green. He’ll have two putts from distance to save his par. Rory meanwhile is pin high, in the heart of the green, 25 feet from the flag.

7.35pm BST

Back on the opening tee box, it’s Tiger and Rory! It’s like a Nike advert made flesh. It is a Nike advert, really, there’s not a lot of “like” about it. Rory, dressed in a lurid dayglo yellow, batters his opening drive into the

rough
second cut down the left. Tiger meanwhile, in his traditional final-day red, opts to play the 9th hole. He’s flayed his drive way out to the left, over the patrons and goodness knows where. Has he ever hit a good opening drive at a major championship, even in his major-hoovering pomp? I’m not sure he has, you know. Answers on a postcard.

7.34pm BST

Fowler sends a pitching wedge at 8 to a few inches, and taps in the short birdie putt. After opening with birdies at 1 and 2, he’s now three under for his round and -4 for the tournament. Another very impressive showing at Augusta by a player who finished tied for fifth 12 months ago.

7.27pm BST

Shot of the day so far by Paul Casey, who very nearly replicates Louis Oosthuizen’s 2012 albatross on 2. He creams a long iron into the centre front of the green, the ball rolling towards the back and breaking round to the right, finally settling 12 inches behind the cup! That’s a gorgeous effort. The English star dropped a shot at the opening hole, but he’ll be moving into credit for the day with that sure-fire eagle. It’ll move him to -6. He’s had an excellent week, nearly forcing his way into the business deals at the end of the tournament, but not quite. Good to see him back competing at the top level after being in the doldrums, injured, for the best part of five years. Jamie Donaldson has signed for a best-of-day 67, by the way. He ends level par for his Masters, and looks very happy with his day’s work. As well he should.

7.23pm BST

Another birdie for Mahan, this time at 4, chipping in from off the back of the green, and he rises to -5. Bubba sees a ten-footer for birdie on 8 stay out; he’s one over for his round today and level par for the tournament, a study in frustration. Bradley’s good run comes to an end at 16, a bogey dropping him back to -2 overall; he’s just (just!) four under for his round now. But the old boy Mark O’Meara is going well: birdies at 12, 13 and 15, and a birdie putt only just missed at 16, and he’s three under for his round, and -1 overall.

7.18pm BST

Patrick Reed continues to make his sweet way around Augusta National. A second birdie of the day at 7, and he reaches the turn in 34 strokes. It’s been steady without being particularly spectacular for Reed, who really does have everything one needs to win a major, including the ultra-competitive, street-fightin’ attitude essential at the very top level. Funny that he’s started his major career pretty slowly, then: missed cuts at the Masters and Open last year, and his best place in the other two was a tie for 35th at the US Open. He’s currently tied for 24th, and it’ll stand him in good stead if he can keep on rising this afternoon.

7.10pm BST

A birdie at the opening hole for Jason Day, who is surely a Master of the future, but not this year. He’s -5 for the tournament. Ah hold on, no, he’s back to -4, having missed a five-foot par dribbler on 2. Bill Haas reaches -5, after birdie at 2. Haas’s partner Hunter Mahan, best known for playing 1973-era Brian Wilson in the Golf Boys, picks up a shot at the 2nd too; he’s -4. And Jamie Donaldson is on a lovely little run at the moment: he responded to bogeys at 11 and 12 with a run of four between 13 and 16. He’s four under for his round, and +1 for the tournament.

7.05pm BST

Well that’s good timing, because Sergio’s blocked his tee shot at 4 to the left-hand side of the green, with the pin away on the right. But it’s what he does next: a 50-foot rake across the green, sliding gently left to right, and into the cup! That’s back-to-back birdies, as he’s only just picked up a shot at 3. He’s two under for his round and -5 overall. He’s got all the tools to win a major tournament. The complete golfing toolkit, if you will. Ahem. The silly bugger only ever seems to get it going when it’s too bloody late. Oh Sergio. Maybe the Open, the Open’s his best chance. C’mon Sergio, we can all die happy then.

6.56pm BST

Lee Westwood isn’t having the best of starts to his final round. Four bogies and a birdie have taken him to three under after starting even on the day. Still, he’s making it interesting. And on that non-bombshell I will hand you back to Scott.

6.52pm BST

Bradley’s still on for the best round of the day so far. He started at 3 over and is on two under going into the 13th, where he has an eagle putt – he’ll be tied for 12th if this drops … ooof. It slides a couple of feet past the hole but he birdies. He’s in the top 20 now.

6.35pm BST

Bubba was on two under but a bogey on the third means he’s now -2. Fowler is holding it steady elsewhere, another par means he’s on -3 heading into the fifth.

6.30pm BST

Dufner and Walker both have eagle putts on the 13th. Walker’s attempt whistles five feet past though – still has a decent chance for a birdie though, which he takes – he’s now -1 for the week. Dufner’s also slides past but he’s a little closer than Walker, and a birdie takes him to four over.

6.22pm BST

Not much golf as CBS discuss how much sleep Spieth got last night. They’re pretty admanant he didn’t get much. Well, you wouldn’t with two TV commentators standing over your bed checking on your REM, would you?

6.13pm BST

Singh birdies the 16th! That’s his third in four holes and he’s on a run. A run to seven over anyway. His playing partner Darren Clarke is on five over. They seem cheerful enough as their weekend comes towards an end though. Elsewhere, Jimmy Walker birdies a long putt on the 12th for a birdie. He’s now even.

6.07pm BST

Keegan Bradley reaches the turn in 32 strokes. He’s -2 for the tournament. A few of the lads further up the leaderboard would pay cash money for that return later today. Meanwhile there’s been another typically wayward and entertaining start by the outgoing champion Bubba Watson. He started out with a double bogey, three birdies, a bogey and another birdie yesterday. He’s started today with a bogey at Tea Olive and an eagle at 2. He’s -2, and you wouldn’t have him any other way. And with that, I’m going to hand over to Tom Lutz, who will make you feel loved while I go and hectically shovel several kilograms of Hamburger Helper, the only food-flavored product to be marketed by a talking golf glove, down my fat throat. See you soon for the denouement to the 79th Masters Tournament!

6.01pm BST

Anyway, never mind all these professionals cluttering up the place. What about Augusta National’s world-renowned official marker, Jefferson Knox? Here’s our man in Augusta, Andy Bull:

I’m told Jeff Knox shot 77 yesterday, far from his best day. Probably one of his worst around here in a long while, in fact. But in his defence, he was, just like Henrik Stenson, suffering with the flu last week. Which is why he didn’t get a chance to play with Rory McIlroy last week.

Today, they say he hasn’t made a par yet – he’s through 13 as I type this. But he’s still playing some marvelous stuff. I’ve just come back from Amen Corner, where I saw him hit his drive wide right into the trees at 11. From there, I couldn’t even see the green, much less imagine how I might play a shot that would find it. But Knox eased his approach through two pines and over the top of a couple more. It landed slap on top of a little hill at the front right. He smiled, and gave a shrug as if to say ‘well, would you look at that.’

5.49pm BST

Mickelson, Rose, Hoffman et al need the encouragement offered by the likes of Bradley, who has just birdied 8 to move to -2, four under for his round. Because there aren’t otherwise a whole load of red numbers being posted at the minute. Of the 29 players out there right now, only seven are below par for their round. Patrick Reed has birdied 2 and is -1 for his round and the tournament after 4. Henrik Stenson has just made birdie at the same hole to move to -1. Walker has dropped a shot at 9, and Donaldson has bogeyed 11, though they’re both still in credit today at two and one under for their rounds respectively. The course is playing as tough as it’s played all week.

5.40pm BST

Another birdie for the 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley, this time at 7. He’s -1 overall now, and may be ruing his dismal 75 yesterday, which might have cost him a decent placing. His early performance, along with that of Steve Stricker and Jimmy Walker, will be offering encouragement to Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Charley Hoffman, all of whom need to embark on a birdie blitz when they trot out in a couple of hours. Of course, anything they can do Jordan Spieth is more than capable of matching or bettering, but as Jack Nicklaus once said, while of course it’s better to be leading, there’s also the fear of being chased. You feel no fear if you’re the one doing the chasing.

5.28pm BST

One of the feelgood moments of the 2014 season was Erik Compton’s second place in the US Open at Pinehurst No2. Not only because his achievement meant – in his own words – he was no longer “just the guy with the two heart transplants”, but also because in his post-round interview he cracked a smile as wide as North Carolina when he found out that he’d qualified for the Masters as a result. He’s enjoyed his week at Augusta without ever being involved in the thick of it, with rounds of 73, 72 and 74. He’s going along nicely today, too; a bogey at 6 has been quickly cancelled out by birdies at 7 and 8. He’s +2 overall.

5.20pm BST

Walker (three under for his round) and Bradley (two under) apart, there’s nobody out there really tearing the place up. Ah, hold on, here’s dependable Steve Stricker, who started with a birdie, bogeyed 3, birdied 4, and has now just registered back-to-back birdies at 6 and 7. He’s three under for his round and, along with Jimmy Walker, is the hottest property on the course out there right now! Having shot three 73s this week, he’ll need to slow down quite dramatically if he wants to become only the fifth man to shoot the same score in all four rounds at the Masters. For the record, the four who have achieved it are: Walter Hagen (76s in 1939), Lew Worsham (74s in 1954), Kenny Knox (75s in 1987) and George Archer (75s in 1989). Looks like Kevin Streelman – three 70s carded this week – will have to field this one on his own.

5.10pm BST

Jamie Donaldson, the man who put the USA to the sword at the Ryder Cup, has been a bit erratic this week. An opening-day 74, a one-under 71 on the Friday, and a wonky 76 including a couple of double-bogeys at par threes yesterday. But he’s swinging along smoothly today, with birdies at 3, 4 and 8, a bogey at 5 the only blemish on his card so far. He’s +3 and seemingly in the mood to gain a few places on the field with a late run up the leaderboard.

5.03pm BST

Not everyone can be as precocious as the Spieths, McIlroys and Tigers of this world. So 27 still counts as up-and-coming in my book. Danny Willett’s first visit to the Masters will stand the young man in good stead. His 71s of Thursday and Friday were highly impressive, and though he suffered a bit around Amen Corner yesterday on his way to a 76, this all counts as invaluable experience. The Sheffield star has begun his round today in a nice relaxed manner; a birdie at 2 and he’s back to +1 for the tournament through 4. He’s fast becoming a steady performer in the majors, albeit on the fringes of the action, without getting involved in any big conversations as of yet. Plenty of time for all that.

4.55pm BST

Oh O’Meara! He’s made an awful balls of 3, the pin tucked into the thin appendage on the left of the green. His chip from off the front went clean through the green, and his attempt to get the ball back up was timid, only just reaching the fringe. A painful back and forth which resulted in a double bogey six, and he’s back to +2. Meanwhile what a start by Keegan Bradley: he dropped a shot at the opening hole, but three birdies in a row have catapulted him up the leaderboard to level par for the tournament.

4.47pm BST

There have been some big scores run up this week. Ben Crenshaw’s 91, Mike Weir’s 82, Gunn Yang’s 85, Tom Watson’s 81, Thongchai Jaidee’s 80 yesterday. But nobody seems to be suffering too much out there right now. Jaidee, bottom of the pile at +10, is only one over for his round today through 9. And nobody out there is more than a shot over par as things stand. Plenty of time for the course to bare its teeth, mind. “A lot is being made of that Spieth total of 200 after 54 holes. It’s not all that really. I reckon I could do it after 36.” Ladies and gentlemen, Simon McMahon. He’s here all week, try the cornbread. And it’s good to see spikes-bar humour didn’t die out despite mainstream television turning their back on the Jimmy Tarbucks and Kenny Lynches of this world decades ago. (For US readers, think Bob Hope crossed with Richard Dawson, that’s the best I can manage off the top of my head.)

4.34pm BST

The folk in hot pursuit of Spieth will be happy to see that scores are out there, if they want them. A couple of players have flown out of the blocks quickly this morning. The 1998 champion and 58-year-old veteran Mark O’Meara shot a stunning 68 on Friday, and he looks in the mood again today, with birdies at the opening two holes; he moves to level par for the tournament. Meanwhile one of the pre-tournament favourites who didn’t really turn up this week, Jimmy Walker, is three under for his round through 4, having birdied 1, 3 and 4. He’s level par overall as well.

4.28pm BST

As you’d expect on Sunday, a couple of the pins are in quite tight positions. Difficult to know which looks the most treacherous: 11, 12, 13 or 16. I’ll go for 11, especially if the chasing pack are having to put the foot on the gas.

4.12pm BST

A word on today’s weather. It should be sunny for most of the day. Perhaps all of it. But there are thunderstorms expected across Georgia tonight and tomorrow, and a few of the clouds may be rocking up early doors late this afternoon to give the locals a sneak preview of what they’ll be getting. If some bad weather does arrive, it should be nothing more than a heavy shower, and not enough to stop play. No thunder and lightning. But then again the forecasts have been wrong all week – a lot of rain was expected during the days, but none of it came to pass – so who knows. Either way, sounds like it’s unlikely to have a huge effect on the tournament.

4.00pm BST

So has everyone finished their healthy morning repast of iced tea and pimento cheese sandwich? Yes? That’s great news, because it’s time to go out and about, and join all the other patrons swarming around Augusta National. Still nearly four hours to go before the final pairing make their way out onto the course. Imagine being Jordan Spieth right now! What a day lies in store for that absurdly talented young man. He’ll be making history one way or the other: either as the second youngest Masters champion of all time behind the 1997 version of Tiger Woods, or as one of only five players to have failed to convert a 54-hole lead of at least four shots into a win. Goodness gracious, it’s hard enough winning your first major championship at the best of times – ask Colin Montgomerie, Doug Sanders or Jean van de Velde – but doing it at the Masters, at 21 years of age, and with Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Tiger breathing down your neck … ulp! God speed, then, young Jordan. The best of luck. But the best of luck to the rest of the field, too. May the best man win, after a Masters Sunday for the ages. Absurdly excited? Yep, us too.

3.00pm BST

If history can teach us anything, it’s that a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Masters guarantees zilch. Zip. Nada. So will Jordan Spieth – who has just broken Raymond Floyd and Tiger Woods’ best-ever 54-hole mark of 201 by a stroke, is only a round of 69 away from breaking the lowest 72-hole tally in this grand old tournament’s history, and stands four clear of Justin Rose going into the final day – crumble?

As we’re about to see, anything is possible on Masters Sunday. But first let’s just consider the tumultuous climax to last night’s third round. Spieth had carved out a seven-shot lead for himself by 6.30pm. Less than half an hour later, thanks to a double bogey at 17, and Rose’s birdie at the last, that lead was cut to four. And he’d just hoicked a Greg Normanesque approach at 18 into the gallery. He was in grave danger of total meltdown. But he didn’t succumb. Instead, snookered by a bunker and in a tight spot up a bank, he flopped a steel-nerved wedge to eight feet, then knocked in the putt. Par saved, his four-shot advantage maintained.

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Justin Rose buoyed by being in final pairing in last round of the Masters

• Late third-round charge gives Rose chance of Masters glory
• ‘You want to be in the last group, to see what you’re up against’
• Spieth faces fight for Masters after Rose charge
• As it happened: Scott Murray’s hole-by-hole report from Augusta

Justin Rose believes playing in the final Sunday pairing at the Masters could prove an advantage, as the Englishman seeks to wrest the first major of the season from the grip of Jordan Spieth. In a dramatic climax to Saturday’s play at Augusta National, Rose holed a bunker shot at the 16th and a 25ft birdie putt on 18 as Spieth suffered a late slip. The gap between the pair suddenly reduced to four. The 21-year-old Spieth will therefore have the 2013 US Open champion for last-day company when trying to win his first major championship.

Related: Masters 2015: day three – in pictures

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Masters 2015: day three – in pictures

The best images from day two of the 2015 Masters Tournament. Jordan Spieth still leads, but the chasing pack closed in before the final day
Masters 2015: day one – in pictures
Masters 2015: day two – in pictures

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Jordan Spieth faces fight for Masters after Justin Rose charge

• Young American takes four-shot lead into final round on Sunday
• Justin Rose second with Phil Mickelson in third

This has finally turned into the Masters it had always threatened to be.

Just when it looked like only a complete capitulation from Jordan Spieth, or sheer brilliance from elsewhere, would deny him the maiden major success he would cherish so much, a snap warning was fired from the golfing gods. This was a stark reminder that no championship is complete until hands are shaken on Sunday or, in specific regards to this event, a cringe-inducing ceremony in the Butler Cabin has been played out.

Related: Justin Rose buoyed by being in final pairing in last round of the Masters

Related: Masters 2015: day three – in pictures

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