Three-time champion Phil Mickelson and former US Open winner Justin Rose summoned the bellowing trademark Augusta roars as young Texan Jordan Spieth showed a few late nerves but remains in control after the third round of the Masters.
Rose, who started seven adrift of Spieth’s Masters record 36-hole mark of 130, did his best to unnerve the 21-year-old with a five-under-par 67 to get to 12-under.
Through 16 holes of the third round, Spieth had responded in kind with almost everything thrown at him but a double bogey on the 17th gave the challengers some hope.
But a sensational par save on the last from the right of the green ensured a round of two-under 70 and a Masters 54-hole scoring record at 16-under-par 200.
Mickelson moved to 11 under after a 67 of his own.
Charley Hoffman (71), playing with Spieth, is fourth at 10-under-par before a four-shot drop back to world No.1 Rory McIlroy (68), 14-time major winner Tiger Woods (68), Kevin Streelman (70), Kevin Na (70) and Dustin Johnson (73) who share fifth at six under.
Australian hopes are all but gone with Jason Day forced to settle for a 71 on Saturday to be at four under and a tie for 12th.
Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, dropped a 74 on moving day to move in reverse, back to one under and a tie for 25th.
The popular Mickelson caught fire early with three consecutive birdies on two, three and four and capped off the front side with another at the ninth.
A bogey on 11 stalled his charge but birdies on 13 and 15 restored his move before a 50-foot birdie putt in the 16th sent the patrons into a frenzy.
A sloppy three-putt bogey on 17 followed and a missed birdie chance on 18 opened the door for Rose to move into Sunday’s final pairing.
Spieth has three birdies and two bogeys at the turn, gaining strokes at the second, sixth and ninth holes but dropping shots at the fourth and seventh.
The Texan then nailed back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13, dropped a shot at 14 but responded with another two birdies on the trot.
At 18 under he held a seven shot lead and looked to be cruising to the green jacket but a wild drive and a poor chip and putt ensured his focus would not drift elsewhere too early.
Rose caught fire late in the day, closing his round with five birdies in his last six holes to reignite the contest.
World No.1 McIlroy had it to eight under at one point before two late bogeys, while Woods had it seven deep but he also bogeyed 18.
Day set himself for a charge but could not capitalise on the greens.
The Queenslander could have easily been in the conversation but the world No.5 missed seven birdie chances from inside 15 feet, putts he needed to make to be in the mix.
John Senden (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (73) are at one-over, tied 36th.