Golf

Jamie Donaldson was moving up the leaderboard in the Masters.

Jamie Donaldson and Matt Fitzpatrick start strongly in Masters final round

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Jamie Donaldson and Matt Fitzpatrick added their names to an increasingly crowded leaderboard in an eagerly-anticipated final round of the 80th Masters.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth admitted that dropping three shots in the last two holes on Saturday had left the year's first major championship wide open, with the top 15 separated by six shots.

The 22-year-old had history on his side as he looked to follow Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning back-to-back titles at Augusta National, with the winner coming from the last group in the final round in 21 of the last 25 years.

However, better conditions gave the chasing pack plenty of hope and playing partners Donaldson and Fitzpatrick were swiftly in red figures for the day, Ryder Cup hero Donaldson carding birdies on the first and second and British Masters champion Fitzpatrick picking up shots on the second and third.

That took the pair to three over par and just six shots behind Spieth, who had bogeyed the 17th and double bogeyed the 18th after wild drives on Saturday to finish three under par, just a shot ahead of fellow American Smylie Kaufman.

The 58-year-old Bernhard Langer was just a shot further back alongside Hideki Matsuyama and in contention to become the oldest major champion ever by a d ecade, with world number one Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and England's Danny Willett on level par.

Lee Westwood, Soren Kjeldsen and Brandt Snedeker were a shot further back, with Rory McIlroy five shots behind Spieth on two over as he looks to complete the career grand slam.

McIlroy struggled to a 77 alongside Spieth and failed to record a single birdie for the first time in 81 major championship rounds, the 26-year-old admitting it was frustrating to see Spieth's putting getting him out of trouble on several occasions.

"I turned around after 15 and said, 'How the hell is he two under par today?" McIlroy said. "But it's his most impressive asset and as much as it could be annoying to his competitors, it's very, very impressive."

Spieth appeared to have recognised he was somewhat fortunate to be holding the outright lead for a record seventh straight round in the Masters, the world number two flying his coach Cameron McCormick into Augusta to work on his swing before the final round.

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