Casey the Euro star

The Masters: Mickelson may be the man as the English Rose withers
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The Independent Online

While one young Englishman's Masters dream came to grief in the third round at Augusta National, another's sprung to life. The famous Green Jacket will not be draped over the shoulders of Justin Rose, but Paul Casey remains very much in contention going into the final 18 holes.

Rose, 24, had led after 36 holes, but dropped six shots over the first nine holes yesterday to first slip off the leaderboard and then out of contention as his wretched day continued on the inward nine. By the time he headed for the scorer's hut, he had struck 81 blows, a far cry from his opening two rounds of 67 and 71. Rose stood on 219, nine shots off the lead.

It was left to the 26-year-old Casey to put together a fine 68, for a three-round total of 212, four under par. That left him just two shots off the lead, held by the Americans Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco on 210. Casey had third spot all to himself, one shot ahead of South Africa's Ernie Els, who compiled a 71 for 213, along with Germany's Bernhard Langer (69) and South Korea's K J Choi (72).

Casey had begun the day six shots off the pace set by Rose, but by the time he had reached the turn they had swapped positions; Casey picked up birdies at the third, fifth and ninth, while Rose bogeyed the first three holes and never recovered.

Tiger Woods, the world No 1, also drifted off the radar after his second 75 of the week for 219. A Woods in vintage form could not be written off, but this one can.

Mickelson, the left-hander widely regarded as the best current player yet to win a major, birdied the third, seventh and eighth to forge one shot clear, before being caught by DiMarco at the par-four 14th. Mickelson then parred every hole coming home for his 69 that makes him the bookmakers' favourite.

However, it was a day Casey, on his first excursion to the Masters, who showed how comfortable he is in this élite company. "Everybody said that in terms of the majors this would be the one that would suit me most," said the Englishman, whose confidence was further boosted by a 10th place finish on his first appearance in the Players' Championship a fortnight ago. "I had a lot of fun out there. I think pairings count so much and Mark O'Meara was great to play with.

"I played some great golf, A couple of putts got away, but I was having a real ball. It's great to show the American crowds what I can do." Today Casey will tee off in the penultimate pairing, having given himself every chance of becoming the first Masters debutant to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington shot a 68 to move to level par for the tournament on 216, only six off the lead and still not out of the argument. The best round of the day, a 67, belonged to Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, who moved to one-under-par 215.

US Masters third round scores

210 Chris DiMarco 69 73 68, Phil Mickelson 72 69 69

212 Paul Casey (GB) 75 69 38

213 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 71 73 69, Ernie Els (SA) 70 72 71, KJ Choi (S Kor) 71 70 72

214 Kirk Triplett 71 74 69

215 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 74 74 67

216 Padraig Harrington (Ire) 74 74 68, Stewart Cink 74 73 69, Nick Price (Zim) 72 73 71, Jay Haas 69 75 72, Fred Couples 73 69 74, Davis Love III 75 67 74,

217 Vijay Singh (Fiji) 75 73 69

218 Retief Goosen (SA) 75 73 70, Mark O'Meara 73 70 75, Charles Howell III 71 71 76, Alex Cejka (Ger) 70 70 78

219 x–Casey Wittenberg 76 72 71, Jerry Kelly 74 72 73, Tiger Woods 75 69 75, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 72 72 75, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 71 69 79, Justin Rose (GB) 67 71 81

220 Shaun Micheel 72 76 72, Justin Leonard 76 72 72, Stuart Appleby (Aus) 73 74 73, Paul Lawrie (GB) 77 70 73, Stephen Leaney (Aus) 76 71 73, Phillip Price (GB) 71 76 73, Bob Tway 75 71 74, Steve Flesch 76 67 77

221 Bob Estes 76 72 73, Eduardo Romero (Arg) 74 73 74, Sandy Lyle (GB) 72 74 75, Scott Verplank 74 71 76

222 Ian Poulter (GB) 75 73 74, Tim Petrovic 72 75 75

223 x–Brandt Snedeker 73 75 75

224 Brad Faxon 72 76 76, Todd Hamilton 77 71 76

225 Jeff Sluman 73 70 82

226 Chris Riley 70 78 78

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