The Masters: Rose happy to still be in contention after falling behind at Augusta

By Sports Desk April 10, 2021

Justin Rose remains hopeful of overhauling Hideki Matsuyama for his first green jacket after struggling in the penultimate round of The Masters.

Rose had set the pace heading into the third round at Augusta, but the one-time major champion fell four strokes adrift of red-hot challenger Matsuyama on Saturday.

Consecutive birdies to begin the round appeared to have Rose on track to maintain his advantage but back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes saw the two-time Masters runner-up come unstuck.

One shot ahead during the weather delay, Rose fell away when play resumed – the Englishman signing for a second successive 72 in Georgia.

"I didn't play well enough today, simple as that really," said Rose as he eyes his maiden Masters crown.

"I think all in all, to have a shot tomorrow, I'm delighted. I have that freedom to take a run at it, and of course I'd love to kind of stay with it just a little bit better.

"I've been playing with the lead the whole week, and obviously there's been an hour of golf where Hideki has moved out there in front.

"You know, all the guys chasing at seven under are all capable of that little run that Hideki has had, so it's all up for grabs tomorrow."

Rose added: "I was pretty happy just to be able to walk into the clubhouse before I dropped another shot."

Rose heads into Sunday's final round level at seven under alongside 2019 runner-up Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris.

Schauffele improved 10 positions thanks to a third-round 68, which included an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys.

"It's moving day. It's Saturday," Schauffele said of playing alongside Japan's Matsuyama, who gained six shots in seven holes to seize control. "You want to play with someone who's going to shoot seven-under. You hope that it's yourself, and if not, you chase.

"You'd rather play with someone that's shooting 65 than shooting 74. It was nice to chase after him. He's an incredible iron player. This is a great course for him. I think he has a great record out here at Augusta National, and obviously he showed it this afternoon."

Leishman (70) – who finished tied for fourth in 2013 – enjoyed a strong finish, with two birdies from his final bogey-free six holes leaving him in a mix to become just the second Australian to win a green jacket after Adam Scott (2013).

"Obviously if Hideki plays well, he can control his own destiny," Leishman said. "But a lot can happen around here. I've seen it. I mean, I played with Scottie the year he won. I've seen what can happen.

"I've had bad rounds here myself and I've had good rounds. You can make up four shots fairly quickly, but you have to do a lot of things right to do that."

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    It meant overnight leader DeChambeau had the chance to put in for par on the 18th and snatch victory by a single point.

    McIlroy's last miss, on the 18th, came after he had seen DeChambeau skew a tee shot into the rough, with the Northern Irishman then planting an excellent chip within a couple of feet of the hole.

    But the ball rolled agonisingly around the lip as McIlroy dropped another shot, finishing on five under for the tournament.

    DeChambeau did not offer McIlroy another chance, drilling a shot out of a bunker and onto the green before sinking a four-foot put to spark huge celebrations in the crowd.

    It condemned McIlroy to arguably the most painful defeat of his career, as a fifth major title continues to allude him.

    The 35-year-old, who was held off by a single point by Wyndham Clark at last year's U.S. Open, had played brilliantly through the round, and four birdies between the ninth and 13th holes had him on course to win his first major since he triumphed at The Open in 2014.

    DeChambeau, on the other hand, could not get going on the back nine, exchanging a pair of birdies with two bogeys, but he steadied himself on the 17th with an excellent drive.

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