AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Bubba Watson shot a 3-under 33 on the front nine at Augusta National, giving him a two-shot lead over 20-year-old Jordan Spieth midway through the final round of the Masters.
Watson was down by two strokes as the final group headed to No. 8 on Sunday. Then, suddenly, Spieth looked a bit rattled.
Just like that, the 2012 Masters champion seized control with back-to-back birdies.
Spieth struck an ugly pitch at the par-5 eighth and wound up making bogey, giving up the lead when Watson rapped in a short birdie putt. A thunderous drive at the ninth put Watson in position to curl in a 10-footer for another birdie, while Spieth's approach rolled off the front of the green and he missed a 4-footer to save par.
Watson pushed his score to 8 under overall, but a bogey at the 10th stifled his momentum a bit on what was shaping up as a duel right to the wire.
Matt Kuchar and Jonas Blixt were only three shots behind, with Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez another stroke back.
With Tiger Woods recovering from back surgery, Spieth was trying to become the youngest major champion since 1931 and the youngest Masters winner ever. He was tied with Watson coming into the final round.
The young Texan got off to a spectacular start, playing the first seven holes at 3 under despite a bogey at the fifth. He rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the second, holed out a spectacular bunker shot at No. 4, stuck his tee shot to 2 feet at the par-3 sixth, and calmly sank a downhill 10-footer at the seventh.
But Spieth stumbled at No. 8, largely because of a sloppy shot from the side of the green that came up far short of the flag. He three-putted from there, taking a 6 at one of the easiest holes on the course.
Watson bogeyed the third hole, but matched Spieth's birdies at both par-3s on the front side.
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