Dustin Johnson remained in control at the top of the 2020 Masters Tournament leaderboard as he reached the turn on Sunday, despite seeing his commanding overnight lead cut in half by a charging Cameron Smith.
World Number One Johnson began the day with a four shot cushion on 16 under par but allowed the chasing pack to eat into his advantage after making a mixed start to his final round.
Johnson's lead was reduced to a single shot after he followed up his first birdie of the day on the third with back to back bogeys on the fourth and fifth, while playing partner Sungjae Im picked up shots on the second and third to move to 14 under.
But Johnson rallied, making gains at the sixth and eighth to jump to 17 under and sit two clear of nearest challenger Smith with nine holes remaining.
Im was another two shots further back on 13 under, with Dylan Frittelli alone in fourth on 11 under.
Johnson, who is looking to win his second Major Championship and a first Green Jacket, hit his opening tee shot into a fairway bunker but found the green with his approach and safely two putted from 31 feet for par.
That did not appear to settle Johnson's nerves, though, as he hit his third shot into a greenside bunker at the long second, but he was able to get up and down for a valuable par.
By the time Johnson reached the third green, his lead had been reduced to two shots as Australian Smith made birdies at the second and third to get to 14 under.
But the American curled in from around 12 feet on the third to move to 17 under par and go three clear.
Johnson came up short of the green on the par three fourth and three putted from the fringe to drop his first shot of the day before a second successive bogey allowed playing partner Im to close the gap to one.
But the 36-year-old came up with the ideal response, sending his tee shot at the par three sixth to seven feet before rolling in for a birdie to return to 16 under.
Following his first bogey of the round at the fifth, Smith also looked in trouble on the seventh following a pushed drive but he conjured a superb recovery from the trees and holed from ten feet for an unlikely birdie.
Johnson made a good up-and-down from a bunker on the seventh before slotting in another birdie from around five feet at the eighth to get to 17 under and move three clear once more.
Smith then produced a sensational second shot from among the trees on the ninth to make another birdie from absolutely nowhere, closing the gap to two strokes.
Johnson had the chance to take a three shot lead into the turn but narrowly missed his 15 foot putt at the ninth.