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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Spieth, Watson share lead after Masters third round, McIlroy hopes fading

The Northern Irish golfer currently has a score of three over.

Image: David J. Phillip

BUBBA WATSON AND Jordan Spieth shared the lead at the 78th Masters after Saturday’s third round, each standing on five-under 211 through 54 holes at Augusta National, while Rory McIlroy’s hopes of success are all but over

Spieth, who at 20 could become the youngest champion in Masters history, fired a two-under par 70 for the second day in a row after an opening 71.

Watson, the 2012 Masters winner, struggled to a 74 on Saturday but parred the last two holes after a bogey to put himself in Sunday’s final group with fellow American Spieth.

Spieth, who last year became the first teen to win a US PGA event since 1931, could become the youngest major winner since 1931 and break the record age mark at the Masters set by Tiger Woods in his record-shattering 1997 triumph.

Spieth also could become the first player to win his Masters debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, another Masters newcomer, and American Matt Kuchar shared third on 212 with Rickie Fowler and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez sharing fifth on 213.

England’s Lee Westwood, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and American Jim Furyk shared seventh on 214.

McIlroy, meanwhile, is on three over, with fellow Irishman Darren Clarke on five over, meaning both are effectively out of the running.

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

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