Spieth soaring towards green jacket

Comparisons with Tigers Woods will be inevitable if Jordan Spieth shows the mettle to convert his four-shot third-round lead into Masters triumph.

Spieth needs to hold off major champions Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson on a nerve-wracking final day to claim the green jacket.

But the 21-year-old Australian Open champion has already shown composure way beyond his years as he bids to become only the fifth wire-to-wire winner in Masters history, joining Craig Wood in 1941, Arnold Palmer in 1960, Jack Nicklaus in 1972 and Raymond Floyd in 1976.

He shot a two-under-par 70 to lead from fast-finishing Rose (67) with three-time champion Mickelson (67) a shot further back, one ahead of Charlie Hoffman (71).

His score of 16-under-par 200 broke the 54-hold tournament record shared by Woods (1997) and Floyd (1976), having set a 36-hole record a day earlier.

If he shoots 69 or better to win on Sunday he will break the Masters record Woods set in 1997 when winning his first Masters at the same age.

He will also rise from No.4 to No.2 in the world, behind only Rory McIlroy.

His seven birdies on Saturday took his tally to 22, one more than Woods’ 54-hole record.

Spieth showed his gumption when he salvaged par with clutch flop shot and 10-foot putt on the 18th on Saturday after messing up his approach shot, having just taken double bogey on the 17th.

“It was really big. It was huge. It was one of the bigger putts I’ve ever hit,” Spieth said.

The Texan will draw on his experience from last year, when he was tied for the lead going into the final and led by two through seven holes but finished tied second, three behind Bubba Watson.

“Last year definitely left a bad taste in my mouth,” Spieth said. “I’ve been looking to get back, looking at trying to get some revenge on the year but I’ve got a long way to go still.”

He expected Rose and Mickelson to apply pressure.

“They are going to bring their game and I’ve got to have a relatively stress-free round going, I mean give myself some tap-in pars and not have to make so many putts,” Spieth said.

“I had to make a lot of putts (on Saturday). I can’t rely on the putter that much to save me with two major champions right behind.”

It appears a four-way battle as there is a four-shot gap from Hoffman back to a group including Woods (68) and McIlroy (68), meaning they are giving Spieth a 10-shot start and would need to break the Masters last-day comeback record of eight stokes to win.

“It’s in Jordan’s hands right now,” Woods said.

“He can run off and hide. He’s just playing ‘Steady Eddie.’ That’s all he has to do, handle the par-fives and stay away from bogeys.”

Spieth will play alongside Rose who started Saturday seven adrift but caught fire closing his round with five birdies in his last six holes to reignite the contest.

“I was a little anxious, but I actually felt more comfortable than I thought I would,” Spieth said.

“I was just anxious to get started, but when I got out there and saw a couple putts go in, I felt really comfortable.

“That gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.”

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 and fell back to one-under and a tie for 25th.

John Senden (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (73) are at one-over, tied 36th.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!