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Watson's mistakes open up Masters leaderboard for final round

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The Masters tournament was a one-man show before April 12, as the leaderboard was controlled by 2012 winner Bubba Watson. Yet the Masters are never over after 36 holes, as Watson and several players showed in the third round. The traditional 'moving day' at Augusta shifted the leaderboard and left it wide open for a variety of contenders, such as Watson and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth.

Spieth is now in position to overtake the absent Tiger Woods as the youngest winner in Masters history. He did this by shooting a -2 under 70 in the third round, while Watson struggled to a +2 over 74. In fact, Watson had to salvage par putts at 17 and 18 just to get that far.

After cruising to a three shot lead through 36 holes, due to five straight birdies in the second round, bogeys became the big story of Watson's third round. Four bogeys on the front nine erased his lead, then one at 16 left him in danger of falling from the lead, until he saved himself at the end.

Spieth got himself into an historic tie by being consistent, while his older competitors had their fits and starts. By shooting a 71, 70 and 70 in his first three rounds, Spieth has stayed steady on the Masters leaderboard, although it may take something in the 60's to finish on top of it.

Thanks to Watson cooling off, many players have fresh hope for the final round, although Watson and Spieth are the obvious headliners. Yet if the likes of Matt Kuchar, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ricky Fowler and Justin Rose repeat their third round performances, they can surge towards the green jacket.

A Masters tournament without Woods was supposed to be unappealing. Yet if Watson tops his second leaderboard at Augusta in three years, or if Spieth enters into the record books, this will be a weekend that never needed Woods or Phil Mickelson after all. Of course, there are still a lot of golfers in the shadows who can steal the spotlight and the green jacket hours from now.

The accompanying slideshow breaks down those golfers on top of the leaderboard, who have the best chance to join Masters royalty. If anyone other than these 10 players wears the green jacket, however, it will probably take an incredible surge -- or a few incredible collapses -- to make it happen.

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth Rob Carr/Getty Images

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth (-5: tee time 2:40 p.m. est) Not only is Tiger Woods not in the Masters, he may see the 20-year-old Spieth break his record for youngest champion ever in the meantime.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson Rob Carr/Getty Images

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson (-5: tee time 2:40 p.m. est) Watson looked like he was going to run away with his second green jacket 24 hours ago, yet needed big par putts on 17 and 18 just to make Sunday's final group.

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar (-4, tee time 2:30 p.m. est) One of the third round's biggest movers has been among the best players never to win a major for years. If Kucher matches his third round 68 on Sunday, he may finally get off that list.

Jonas Blixt
Jonas Blixt Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jonas Blixt

Jonas Blixt (-4: tee time 2:30 p.m. est) The Swede hasn't shot a round below 70 in the Masters, yet he hasn't shot below a 71 either, as his consistency may put him ahead of his more heralded competitors by the end.

Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez David Cannon/Getty Images

Miguel Angel Jimenez

Miguel Angel Jimenez (-3: tee time 2:20 p.m. est) Jimenez had the biggest surge of the third round, recovering from a second round 76 with a third round 66, putting the 50-year-old in range of his first major title.

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler (-3: tee time 2:20 p.m. est) Fowler also rebounded from a tough second round, going from a 75 to a 67 in the span of a day to get within striking distance of his first major.

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood David Cannon/Getty Images

Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood (-2: tee time 2:10 p.m. est) Westwood has fallen just short of major glory time and time again, including at Augusta. Now that he doesn't have a bulls-eye on his back, can he come from behind to finally break through?

Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk (-2: tee time 2:10 p.m. est) The 43-year-old Furyk finished second at the PGA championship last August, but needs help to finally match his 2003 U.S. Open title.

Justin Rose
Justin Rose Harry How/Getty Images

Justin Rose

Justin Rose (-1: tee time 2 p.m. est) The defending U.S. Open champion is a major contender for the first time since that victory, although the weight of his first round 76 might still be too much to overcome.

Fred Couples
Fred Couples Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Fred Couples

Fred Couples (-1: tee time 1:50 p.m. est) As always, the ageless 54-year-old Couples is hanging around at the Masters, although this is usually the time when he falls short of making history.



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