Texan Jordan Spieth looked every bit an experienced campaigner at the Masters early this morning as the debutant grabbed a share of the lead going into tonight’s final round.
Spieth fired in a third round 70 to go with his 71 and 70 in a day where most of the field were having day-mares.
The 20-year-old was cool, calm and collected, while overnight leader by three Bubba Watson visited parts of the course he had never seen.
Watson had the chance to blow the elite field apart, but he blew up himself with a third round 74.
So Spieth and Watson will be the final pairing tonight in the hunt for the coveted green jacket.,
They are at 5-under, one shot to the good of Matt Kuchar and Swede Jonas Blixt, another debutant, with the two big movers on moving day – Miguel Angel Jiminez (66), and Ricky Fowler (67) at 3-under, and ready to pounce.
At 2-under Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk, and Dane Thomas Bjorn, with John Senden, Justin Rose, ageless Freddie Couples, and a third debutant Kevin Stadley at 1-under, the only 13 in the red among the 51 qualifiers.
The other Australian hopeful Adam Scott, the defending champion is at 1-over, with little hope of making up at least six shots tonight.
Scott moved out on of contention on moving day.
But enough credit cannot be heaped on Spieth, who may yet emulate Fuzzy Zoeller, the last Masters champion on debut in 1979.
He fired in four birdies with two bogeys in his 70, but when he was in trouble, he showed just how tough he can be.
If he plays like that tonight, we are looking at someone very special.
The same can be said for Jiminez, 30 years Spieth’s senior, The cigar smoking, wine-drinking, fun-loving Spaniard fired in the round of the tournament with a 6-under 66, that included seven birdies when many pars were hard to come by.
American Ricky Fowler’s 67 was special as well, that included six birdies.
If there’s a smokey among those in the red, it’s Englishman Lee Westwood, one of the many elite gofers who have yet to win a major.
But victory rests with his cantankerous putter, which has plagued him throughout his career.
There’s no doubt Westwood has the capabilities to win majors, but not until he controls his flat stick.
The only Australian who will be at Butler Cabib at breakfast tomorrow morning our time is Oliver Goss, who is celebrating his 20th birthday today.
Goss is the only amateur to make the cut, so he’ll be presented with his trophy before the Masters champion dons his green jacket.
The previous leading amateurs on the trophy reads like a Who’s Who of golf – Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Jose Maria Olazabal, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw, Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, and Sergio Garcia to name a few,
Oliver Goss is still soaking up the atmosphere at Augusta as one of the 24 debutants this year. It will be interesting to see how he fares if he turns pro. The timing will be up to Team Goss.
For the moment, let the 20-year-old enjoy his moment in the Augusta sun.