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Friday, 19 March 2010
The Masters - Round Three  (Getty Images)
The Masters - Round Three (Getty Images)

Ian Poulter surged up the Masters Tournament leaderboard following a fine third round of 68 at Augusta National.

Poulter began the day down the field on level par, but moved inside the top ten after carding five birdies and only one bogey on Saturday afternoon.

However, the Englishman remained seven shots off the summit, with joint overnight leaders Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell both moving to 11 under with two birdies inside their opening eight holes.

Poulter said: "I just don’t want the guys to get too far ahead.

"The greens with the storm last night were a lot softer. I thought the sub air might have been able to get them a little firmer this morning but they were soft and I think the guys will still be able to make a few birdies out there.

"I didn’t get off to the best of starts," he added. "I hit it to the left on the first and made a good up and down.

Then I shanked my third shot into two and made a good up and down for par and from there on in I got my tempo back and just hit it flawlessly.

"The only mistake I made was on nine. I had a 30 foot birdie putt and managed to convert that to a bogey which is really annoying.

"I also had a few extra chances on the back nine which I should have taken."

Argentina’s Angel Cabrera remained the leading European Tour member on nine under after bouncing back from a bogey on the first with birdies on the third and eighth holes.

Behind Cabrera was South Africa's Tim Clark, who also bogeyed his opening hole before moving to seven under with birdies on the second, third and eighth.

Poulter,meanwhile, was joined on four under by fellow countryman Lee Westwood, who was two under for his third round with three holes still to play.

Race to Dubai leader Geoff Ogilvy and Spain's Sergio Garcia were among those on three under as they approached the closing holes of their third rounds.

But Padraig Harrington saw his hopes of a third successive major victory dented heavily by a quadruple bogey nine at the second hole.

The Irishman bounced back with three birdies on the front nine, but he was 10 shots adrift of Perry at one under with two holes still to play.

Tiger Woods was only one shot ahead of Harrington after a poor start of his own.

The World Number One hooked his shot into the trees on the first before three putting for double bogey.

Woods then birdied the third and ninth holes but another three putt at 11 dropped him back to one under, although he recovered with a birdie at the par five 13th.

Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy did well to bounce back from a disappointing finish to his second round.

The 19-year-old had dropped five shots in his final three holes on Friday to slip back to one over, but he responded with a solid 71 which included 15 pars, two birdies and just one bogey, at the seventh.

Justin Rose also produced a solid display, moving to one under overall with a 71 which consisted of 17 pars and one birdie, at the third hole.

Meanwhile, fellow Englishman Ross Fisher double bogeyed the first to slip to three over for the tournament, but he too mixed one birdie with a host of pars to card a 73.

American Steve Flesch was the first player to break 70 on Saturday. The left-hander held the early clubhouse lead on three under following a superb 68 which included four birdies in five holes between 12 and 16.

However, his mark was soon surpassed by Poulter, along with fellow American Sean O’Hair who carded seven birdies in a fine 68 of his own.

Among the other early starters was defending champion Trevor Immelman, who remained on one over for the tournament after a round of 72.

England’s Luke Donald posted the same score to stay at level par for the tournament, while Paul Casey slipped to one over with a 73 which included a double bogey at the sixth.

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied two of his opening four holes, but a miserable back nine saw him card a 78 to slip to five over for the tournament.

Former champion Sandy Lyle was one over for his round and one under overall with two holes to play.

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