A year on from dislocating his ankle on the eve of the tournament, Tony Finau was the man to catch on a record day of low scoring in the 83rd Masters.
Finau carded a third round of 64 to set the clubhouse target on 11 under par, two shots ahead of fellow American Webb Simpson, who had earlier carded his own 64 to follow that of Patrick Cantlay.
It is the first time that multiple rounds of 64 or lower have been recorded in the same week and more history will be made on Sunday, with the final round starting from both the first and 10th tees due to forecast thunderstorms in late afternoon.
The players will be grouped in threesomes with the first tee time at 0730 local time (1230 BST) and the final group getting under way at 0920 local time (1420 BST).
After beginning the day four shots off the lead, Finau made a flying start with four birdies in the first six holes and then came within inches of an albatross on the par-five eighth before tapping in for an eagle.
Further birdies on the 13th and 15th completed a brilliant day for the 29-year-old, who famously popped his ankle back into place after suffering the sickening injury last year while celebrating a hole-in-one in the par-three contest.
Former US Open champion Simpson carded an eagle, seven birdies and a solitary bogey in his 64 in pursuit of a second major title, but the leaders ominously could not shake off the attentions of a somewhat fortunate Tiger Woods.
Woods recovered from a bogey on the fifth for the third day in succession with a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth, before getting away with wayward drives on the ninth, 11th and 13th, the latter even resulting in a birdie after bouncing out of the trees and back into the semi-rough.
At nine under Woods was two off the pace approaching the end of his round, with Xander Schauffele and Francesco Molinari on 10 under with five holes remaining.
Rory McIlroy had earlier missed out on the low scoring, a third round of 71 effectively ending his chances of a first Masters title to complete the career grand slam.
“It was just one of those weeks, just not quite had it,” McIlroy said after an erratic round containing an eagle, four birdies and five bogeys.
“I have not read anything. I knew my game was good coming in here, I’ve not let any external pressure get to me. I know I can play this golf course, just this week I have not played it well enough.”
A rain-softened course was expected to play into McIlroy’s hands, but the 29-year-old added: “I don’t think this course plays easier when it’s soft.
“You get mud balls – I got a couple of flyers off the fairway – and when your iron play has to be its most precise of the year, to have mud balls is really tricky.
“I’ve just been making too many mistakes. I’ve been making the birdies and doing the things that you need to do around here. If I’ve missed a green I haven’t got it up and down or put myself out of position.”
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