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Rose birdies 18 to join Spieth in final group

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – To say Justin Rose came out of nowhere to contend in the Masters is a gross understatement.

The 2013 U.S. Open champion promptly made bogey on the first hole Saturday, then followed it with another on the fifth hole. His total was 5 under par at the time, 10 shots behind Jordan Spieth.

Rose then rattled off seven birdies – yes, seven – in the final 12 holes to shoot 67 and end the third round at 12 under par. Rose pulled within four shots of Spieth, and the two will be in Sunday’s final pairing.

Rose was seven shots behind Spieth with three holes remaining in the third round, but there was a three-shot swing in that span when Spieth made double bogey on the 17th hole and Rose made birdie on the difficult final hole.

“Jordan was so far ahead that it was almost – you were just playing your own game, and you can’t get too aggressive around here,” Rose said.

The biggest break for Rose came on the par-3 16th when he hit a poor tee shot short and into the right greenside bunker. But then he splashed out and raised his arms in the air as the ball rolled into the hole for birdie.

Now it’s onward for Rose as he’s in pursuit of his second major championship and first green jacket. This is the 10th time he’s played in the Masters, and he has two top-10 finishes. The best was a tie for fifth place in 2007.

Phil Mickelson is only one shot behind Rose and Charley Hoffman is two behind, but he’ll be able to stare Spieth in the face all day in the final pairing.

“Given the choice, you’d want to be in the last group, you want to be seeing what you’re up against, you want to feel the atmosphere,” Rose said.

“You have to put it on the line, and you’ve got to make good – you’ve got to make committed, aggressive swings under pressure. That’s what I’m going to do tomorrow.”