Calmer conditions for Masters final round

Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:26pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - The early starters in Sunday's final round at Augusta National were greeted by the coldest temperatures of the week but the calmest conditions as the 80th Masters was poised for a pulsating finish.

When American Kevin Na teed off in the first pairing of the day with a non-competing marker, the temperature hovered at around 48 degrees Fahrenheit (nine degrees Celsius) but the strong swirling winds of the first three days were no more.

The best players in the game were tested to the full for the first three rounds in gusts of up to 35 mph (56 kph) on an already challenging layout, but Sunday's forecast called for light breezes.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, aiming to become just the fourth player to claim back-to-back Green Jackets, holds a one-shot lead after 54 holes and is one of many compelling storylines now bubbling at the year's opening major.

The 22-year-old Texan has held the outright lead for a record seven consecutive rounds and if he can hold on for one more day will join Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus as the only men to claim consecutive Masters titles.

German veteran and twice former champion Bernhard Langer, at 58, trails Spieth by two strokes in his bid to become the oldest player ever to win a major championship.

American Julius Boros was a full decade younger when he won the 1968 PGA Championship at age 48.

Hideki Matsuyama, a 24-year-old playing in his fifth Masters, also sits two shots off the pace as he strives to give Japan its first major winner.   Continued...

Jordan Spieth reacts after putting for birdie on the 2nd green during the third round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports