Golf: No longer the hunted, Rose can hunt Matsuyama at Masters


FILE PHOTO: Golf - The Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - April 10, 2021 England's Justin Rose walks up the 18th hole during the third round REUTERS/Brian Snyder

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - It would be a stretch to say Justin Rose was happy to relinquish the lead late in the third round at the Masters on Saturday, but perhaps there was a silver lining in someone else taking on the pressure of being the hunted one.

After leading for more than two rounds at Augusta National, Rose struggled after a rain delay and was overtaken by a streaking Hideki Matsuyama on the back nine.

"All the guys chasing at seven under par are all capable of that little run that Hideki has had, so it's all up for grabs tomorrow," said Rose after falling four strokes back into a tie for second with Americans Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris and Australian Marc Leishman.

Rose never regained his mojo in the 11-plus holes after the weather stoppage, a three-putt bogey at the eighth followed by some poor long shots.

Only a series of sublime recovery shots limited the damage and allowed him to shoot even-par 72, not nearly good enough to stay with Matsuyama, who fired 65 in perfect late afternoon conditions.

"The greens slowed up (with the rain)," said Rose, attempting to become the first English winner here since Nick Faldo 25 years ago.

"Everything changed a little bit. I actually didn't putt it great for three or four holes, but then finally got my eye back in and got in touch with the speed again and putted great coming in luckily, because I had struggled a little bit.

"To have a shot tomorrow, I'm delighted (to) have that freedom to take a run at it.

"Of course I'd love to stay with it just a little bit better."

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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