Spieth refuses to crack under Masters pressure

Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:50pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - The biggest names in golf put major pressure on Jordan Spieth but the young American refused to crack, carding a two-under 70 on Saturday to take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Masters.

Masters champions Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and world number one Rory McIlroy all took turns trying to rattle the 21-year-old Texan, but Spieth held steady on a sweaty Georgia afternoon, setting a Masters record 54-hole total of 16-under 200 to better the previous mark of 201 shared by Woods and Raymond Floyd.

Runnerup to Bubba Watson last year in his Masters debut, Spieth will again feature in Sunday's final pairing where he will be joined by Briton Justin Rose, who emerged as a green jacket contender with a blazing back nine that saw the 2013 U.S. Open winner collect five birdies over his final six holes for a five-under 67.

Phil Mickelson also had a 67 to sit five off the pace while Charley Hoffman returned a one-under 71 to leave him six back.

McIlroy and Woods were among those at six under after shooting 68s.

The third round of the Masters is often filled with drama but with Woods, the 14-time major winner; Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion; and McIlroy, chasing a career grand slam, all on the charge the atmosphere around Augusta National was electric with possibilities as Spieth's composure was put to the test.

Holding a five-shot overnight lead, the unflappable Spieth had threatened to run away with the year's first major, widening his lead to seven before a double-bogey at the par-four 17th.

After carding just a single bogey through the opening two rounds, Spieth had three on Saturday along with his double-bogey, but also hit seven birdies.   Continued...

Jordan Speith tees off on the 12th during the second round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports