Masters notes: Justin Rose earns a spot in final pairing

Masters notes: Justin Rose earns a spot in final pairing
Justin Rose chips onto the 13th green during the third round of the Masterson Saturday. (Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Justin Rose won't have to imagine what it will take to slay Jordan Spieth at the Masters.

He'll have a perfect view. Rose earned a spot in Sunday's final pairing at Augusta National by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18.


"Given the choice, you'd want to be in the last group," Rose said. "You want to be seeing what you're up against; you want to feel the atmosphere. You know if you have to chase or if you can still be patient."

Rose misfired at the start Saturday, bogeying the first and fifth holes. But after making birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 — thanks to a 351-yard drive to the bottom of the hill — Rose really caught fire. He gained five strokes in his final six holes, highlighted by holing a 15-yard bunker shot for birdie at 16.

"I had a great lie in the flat part of the trap," Rose said. "I knew I could get a little bit of check on the ball. I was on a pretty straight line to the pin.

"That's the key at Augusta. If you can miss the ball where you don't have a lot of slope to deal with, you're in a pretty good spot."

So we meet again

It's no secret that Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia have had a frosty relationship over the years. So when they were paired Saturday, it left fans and the media wondering just how much friction might be palpable.

Garcia sent a tongue-in-cheek tweet on Friday, saying: "It was gonna happen at some point sooner or later! Paired with @TigerWoods tomorrow but don't you worry guys, I'm sure we'll both be fine."

The 35-year-old Spaniard said after Saturday's round that the feud between him and Woods is mostly a contrived and overblown plot line.

Both players shot under par — Woods with a 68, Garcia with a 71.

"I think we're both fine and we showed it," Garcia said. "Some of the people think it's going to be chaos. And it's not like that.

"At the end of the day it's just a golf game."

Good signs

After fighting back from his most recent back injury, Woods has proven plenty the last three days, returning with obvious competitive fire — not to mention a rebuilt swing. He has shot 69 and 68 after an opening 73.

"People have no idea how hard it was to do that," Woods said. "And to come back here and play a major championship and to be in the mix [is encouraging]."


All over the place

Bubba Watson will be at Sunday's green jacket ceremony, but he's perfectly aware he'll be there only as a presenter.

"You don't have to sugarcoat it," Watson said. "I'm out of it. But I've got two of 'em, so I'll be able to sleep OK tonight."

Watson sits tied for 25th at one under par after a roller-coaster third-round 73 that featured only five pars. The defending Masters champion opened with a triple bogey and a bogey, then followed with three birdies in his next four holes.