AUGUSTA, Ga. - Bubba Watson let a 5-stroke lead slip away Saturday in the third round of the Masters. He didn't eat up the back-nine par-5s at Augusta National Golf Club like he had done the previous two days, making par at both.
But after shooting a 2-over-par 74 and ending the day sharing the tournament lead with Jordan Spieth, Watson was feeling fine.
"All in all, a good day," said Watson, the 2012 Masters champion. "If somebody told me on Monday I'd have 74 and still be tied for the lead, I'd have taken it all day long."
Watson experienced his first two 3-putts of the week. He hit a number of putts short, leaving him with par attempts that probably were longer than he would like. But he indicated that can be fixed in time for Sunday.
"The emotions were there," he said. "I knew that I was hitting the ball good. I know I was hitting my driver well. I knew the key was just making some putts down the stretch, and luckily I did that on the last two holes to get in the final group."
Watson, 35, called Spieth, his 20-year-old playing partner in the final round, "a good guy."
"He goes to Bible study with us on the [PGA] Tour here," he said. "We joked about it on the range today. When they were going to the tee, they said: 'We'll see you in the last group on Sunday.'
"And I was like, 'You'd better play good.' But obviously, I should have played a little bit better," he said with a laugh.
Yes, he is interesting
Miguel Angel Jimenez has been described as "the most interesting man in golf," a takeoff on a slogan in a beer commercial, thanks to his affection for cigars and fine wine and an unusual stretching routine when he warms up.
The ponytailed 50-year-old resident of Spain certainly was one of the most interesting contestants in Round 3 of the Masters, shooting a tournament-low 66 to vault from a tie for 37th at the start of the day to a deadlock for fifth. He said later the key was patience.
"Not being patient . . . and then the whole day you're off your pace, off your rhythm," Jimenez said. "The main thing is to keep that pace and keep that rhythm. That's the secret to the golf course."
Jimenez, who is trying to qualify for his fifth Ryder Cup this year, still is without a major in his career, but has a shot Sunday.
"That would mean a lot," he said. "I have plenty of victories in my career, and having a major in my career would be amazing. That would be the flower on top."
Jim Furyk, who has twice finished fourth in the Masters, is in contention once again, beginning Sunday 3 strokes out of the lead after Saturday's even-par 72. "I'm hoping to stay patient and not get ahead of myself," the former West Chester and Lancaster resident said. "When you start firing at pins here, you can maybe cross the line from aggressive to stupid pretty easy." . . . Long-hitting Gary Woodland tied a tournament record with a 6-under 30 on the front nine and got to 7-under after a birdie at No. 10. But he couldn't sustain the momentum and wound up with a 69. "It was a zone [on the first 10 holes] that you want to be in, and hopefully I get back in that zone" Sunday, he said. . . . U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who was 6-over par on the first 12 holes Thursday, is 7-under since then and now only 4 shots off the pace. He carded two eagles Saturday in a round of 69.