Texas Longhorns-ex Jordan Spieth was unable to take advantage of ‘moving day’ at The Masters, shooting an even-par 72 to complete the third round at 5-under par.
But, instead of being two shots back of Justin Rose, as he was at the start of play on Saturday, Spieth found himself in seventh place, six shots back of a new leader, Hideki Matsuyama.
Matsuyama had the round of the day. The former low amateur at The Masters shot a 7-under 65 to move to 11-under for the event and end Rose’s two-day hold on the lead.
So Spieth and the field on Sunday will be chasing Matsuyama, who is pursuing his first major championship.
A weather delay of an hour and 15 minutes brought rain and thunderstorms to Augusta National as Spieth completed the eighth hole. Once the delay ended, the course softened, and the firm greens that marked the first two days of the event became less of a factor, especially as rain continued to fall. That aided Matsuyama, who shot a 30 on the back nine. But Spieth was unable to truly capitalize on it.
Spieth returned to the course after the delay and managed a par on No. 9 before heading to the back nine. On No. 10 Spieth worked some magic again. His approach from 181 yards found itself short of the green. But, his third shot was perfect, a pitch from 22 yards out that fell right into the cup for a birdie to move him back 5-under par.
At No. 11, Spieth pulled his drive to the far left side of the green and the ball rolled onto a drain cover. By rule, Spieth received some relief from the drain without penalty, took a drop, and pitched the ball to within three feet of the cup to save his par.
Spieth missed a chance at no worse than a birdie at No. 13, when he put his approach shot on the par-5 behind the green, and then three-putted from the fringe. While that was happening Hideki Matsuyama eagled No. 15 and pushed the overall lead to 9-under, pushing Spieth four shots back.
When Spieth reached No. 15, he put his second shot below the hole and his long eagle putt ran just short, but he did manage to tap in the birdie to move to 6-under. But by then Matsuyama had run his score to 11-under.
Spieth gave the shot right back at the par-3 16th, when his tee shot ended up well to the left of the pin, and Spieth three-putted for bogey. He missed a short birdie putt at No. 18, one that would have left him five shots back of the lead.
Spieth’s front nine was up-and-down.
He actually started with a birdie at the par-5 second hole, which played at 575 yards on Saturday. He hit a beautiful drive, while his second shot from 236 yards away ended up short of the green. He put his pitch eight feet from the hole and he drained the birdie to move to 6-under for the event.
Then things got rough. He gave the shot back two holes later at the par-3 fourth hole. His tee shot ended up in the bunker, and his escape shot landed about 12 feet past the hole, and his par putt missed right.
Spieth then had a double-bogey at the par-4 seventh hole, dropping him back to 3-under for the tournament. His drive ended up in the left rough, but his second shot sailed into the gallery on the back right side of the green. Spieth had plenty of green to work with, but a downhill run to the cup. He chunked his pitch into the bunker in front of him. Spieth then escaped from the bunker to 10 feet from the cup but missed the bogey putt.
On eight, just before the weather delay, Spieth bounced back with a birdie on the par-5. His drive ended up in the left rough. He then pulled his second shot further left and into the trees, with the ball sitting on pine straw about 95 yards from the green. Spieth had a good look at it, though, and his pitch went past the cup, rolled to the right side of the green, and then the slope brought the ball back to within four feet of the cup. Spieth drained the birdie to improve to 4-under.
READ MORE: Longhorns at the Masters Tracker
Matthew Postins is an award-winning sports journalist who covers Longhorns in the Pros for Longhorn Country on FanNation.com and SINow. He also writes for CowboyMaven and DallasBasketball.com, covers the Big 12 for HeartlandCollegeSports.com and is the Editor of the College Football America Yearbook. Have a story idea about a former Longhorn now in the professional ranks? Contact Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.