"Everyone has a story line".
And then, splash, the 12th, hammered him for a second consecutive Masters. The 36-year-old has claimed four top-10 finishes in 11 previous starts at the year's opening golf major and has now given himself a real chance of following Danny Willett as the second Briton in succession to claim a prestigious green jacket.
"I certainly know anything can happen on Sunday", said Spieth, referring to his collapse a year ago. "So you've just got to roll with it and realize that sometimes you're going to get good breaks, like has happened to me a few times this week and sometimes you're going to get notsogood breaks".
Spieth, who began the round 2 shots out of the lead shared by Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, fell out of contention on the front nine with three bogeys. But McIlroy, seeking the career grand slam, has a penchant for going low late at Augusta National, shooting in the 60s in three of his last four final rounds at the Masters. Right ahead of them will be Fowler and Spieth, who are also good friends. He picked up two more on the par 5s and finished with birdie putts of 20 feet and 12 feet on the last two holes for a 5-under 67.
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"I tried to get cute with a bunker shot", McIlroy said. "It's always fun when you're playing with one of your good buddies". Fowler fired a 1-under 71 that leaves him one shot off the lead, and Hoffman is two shots back after carrying a four-stroke advantage into Friday's round. He tied for sixth in 2015 and then tied for fourth past year.
KEY STATISTIC: This is the fourth time Garcia has played in the final group at a major, and the first since the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie. He said he is not about to go down quietly.
"Should be a great match-up in the last group", Garcia said. It's play aggressive or go home.
And Garcia managed to finally hold his Saturday-at-Augusta demons at bay with a decent round of 70 for a 6-under total.
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Garcia birdied the fifth and sandwiched a birdie at the par-5 eighth between bogeys but added birdies at the par-5 13th and 15th and parred in, sinking a testy six footer at the last. "The one place you don't want to miss it on that green is short, which I did".
"I think it's the kind of place that if you are trying to fight against it, it's going to beat you down. But at the end of the day, that's part of the game".
Spieth, the 23-year-old Texan who shot 75 to open the Masters, including an ugly nine on the 15th hole, followed his 69 on Friday with a smooth 68 on Saturday to play himself to nearly the very top of the leaderboard. Then he bogeyed the 14th and put his tee shot in the water at the par-three 16th, leading to a double bogey. Adam Scott, the 2013 champ, worked his way up to 3 under and three strokes back with his second straight 69 on Saturday. "Really, really enjoy playing this golf course, enjoy the imagination that's necessary". "Not with regards to the actual shots itself into the greens, but more so once you get on the greens they're starting to become a lot firmer and faster and you have to have really, really nice touch because pin locations are tough".
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