DJ forges clear in the Masters third round

Ben Everill
·2-min read

World No.1 Dustin Johnson will carry a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Masters, with Australian Cameron Smith right in the mix after another inspired late charge.

Johnson was the major mover on moving day at Augusta National, catapulting clear from a five-way tie at the halfway mark into a commanding position entering championship Sunday.

The American carded a third-round seven-under-par 65 to surge to 16 under for the tournament.

After starting the day equal top on the leaderboard, Smith ambled along in neutral until bursting to life midway through the back nine.

After opening with 12 straight pars, Smith bagged a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th to 15th to will his way back into contention.

His round of 69 thrust him to 12 under and into a tie for second spot with Korean Sungjae Im (68) and fellow Presidents Cup teammate Abraham Ancer (69) from Mexico.

If Smith or Ancer are to win they'll likely need to defy 83 years of Masters history to do so. They are the only two players in the field with three rounds so far in the 60s. No player in the history of the Masters has ever had four rounds in the 60s.

South African Dylan Frittelli (67) is outright fifth a further stroke behind at 11 under.

American world No.3 Justin Thomas (71) is 10 under, one clear of former champion Patrick Reed (71), Columbia's Sebastian Munoz (69) and Spanish world No.2 John Rahm (72).

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka (69) and Northern Irish superstar Rory McIlroy (67) are tied 10th at eight under on an all-class and stacked leaderboard.

But the man they all must catch is Johnson, who followed up an eagle three on the par-5 second with birdies on the third, fourth, seventh, 13th and 15th holes to seize control.

But he has a history of squandering 54-hole leads in majors having lost all four times from this position.

"Going into tomorrow, I think I've got a good game plan. I'm not going to change it," Johnson said.

"I'm going to have to go out and play well. There's a lot of really good players right around me, so as we all know here, if you get it going, you can shoot some low scores.

"I'm going to need to go out and play a really good round of golf if I want to win tomorrow."

Defending champion Tiger Woods is five under and 11 shots adrift of Johnson following a ho-hum round of 71.

Smith's countrymen Marc Leishman (70) and Adam Scott (71) are four and three under respectively and needing a Sunday miracle to move back into contention.

No player in the past 30 years has won the Masters from outside the top four entering the final round.