The Masters leaderboard 2014: Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth make run at Bubba Watson

Rob Carr

The leaderboard is bunching up a bit at Augusta National, with two top American players, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth, putting themselves in position for Sunday.

Bubba Watson's 2-over 38 on the first nine at Augusta National completely opened up the 2014 Masters on moving day, and there's now a cluster of players on the heels of the 2012 champion. Bubba had multiple birdie chances down in Amen Corner, but he's started to leave some putts short of the hole. He left one well short of at No. 12, and then three-jacked the 13th for a really bad par to stay at 6-under. He's still on top, and let the others share the lead for only a moment by almost draining an approach shot on 10, but there's definitely moments of leaking oil here in the third round.

Matt Kuchar, who has a long history at Augusta, momentarily held a share of the lead at 5-under before Bubba birdied No. 10. Kuchar was the low amateur here back in 1997, when he was still at Georgia Tech. He's been in the top 10 the last two years, and has been one of the top earners in the world for the past three or four seasons. But despite all the cash he's stacked, he has yet to get a major.

Many assumed that first major win, if it came, would be at Augusta. And Kuchar made his move on the second nine, with three straight birdies at 13, 14, and 15. The two par-5s are must-make birdies for anyone who's trying to chase from behind, and Kuchar needed some short-game magic at the 15th to get there. The 15th is a par-5 that's usually the easiest hole by scoring average, but Kuchar's had some distance control problems there this week. On Thursday, he blasted one over the green and into the pond behind that's actually part of the 16th hole. On Saturday, he airmailed the green again but made an all-world up-and-down from the back of the green for what turned out to be an impressive birdie on a typically easy birdie hole.

That would be Kuchar's last red number of the day, however, and he'd finally drop a shot on the last. With his ball on the back of the green, Kuchar putted right through the 18th green, past the cup on the top tier and all the way down to the front. But at 4-under following his 68, he's right there in position to make a run on Sunday.

Alongside Kuchar at 4-under is 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who used the slope around the flagstick at the 14th to funnel his ball to a couple feet from the hole. He'd tap in for a birdie to get to 4-under and back into a tie for second. Spieth also gave away a birdie chance at the 13th, missing a moderate-length putt after he had to lay up to make it a three-shot hole. It's been an up-and-down march for Spieth, but he continues to hang around and pick up red numbers to mitigate any damage. Regardless of what happens coming in, he's played above expectations and will be towards the bottom of the tee sheet on Sunday. He's trying to become the youngest winner in tournament history, edging Tiger Woods' historic 1997 victory at age 21 by a year.

Here's the rest of the leaderboard late on Saturday:

Place

Player

Score

Through

1

Bubba Watson

-6

12

T2

Matt Kuchar

-4

F

T2

Jordan Spieth

-4

14

T2

Thomas Bjorn

-4

13

T5

Miguel Angel Jimenez

-3

F

T5

Rickie Fowler

-3

F

T5

Jim Furyk

-3

16

T5

Jonas Blixt

-3

13

T9

Lee Westwood

-2

F

T9

Fred Couples

-2

15

T11

Justin Rose

-1

F

T11

Kevin Stadler

-1

17

T11

John Senden

-1

12

T14

Gary Woodland

E

F

T14

Ian Poulter

E

F

T14

Russell Henley

E

16

T17

Kevin Streelman

1

16

T17

Jimmy Walker

1

15

T19

Jason Day

2

F

T19

Chris Kirk

2

F

T19

Steve Stricker

2

F

T19

Gonzalo Fdez-Castano

2

F

T19

Jamie Donaldson

2

17

T19

Adam Scott

2

14

T25

Rory McIlroy

3

F

T25

Bernhard Langer

3

F

T25

Henrik Stenson

3

F

T25

Louis Oosthuizen

3

F

T29

Martin Kaymer

4

F

T29

Bill Haas

4

F

T29

Steven Bowditch

4

F

T29

Hunter Mahan

4

F

T29

Vijay Singh

4

F

T34

Jose Maria Olazabal

5

F

T34

Darren Clarke

5

F

T34

Stewart Cink

5

F

T34

Lucas Glover

5

F

T38

Billy Horschel

6

F

T38

Thongchai Jaidee

6

F

T38

Thorbjorn Olesen

6

F

T38

Brendon de Jonge

6

F

T38

Stephen Gallacher

6

16

T43

Oliver Goss

7

F

T43

Francesco Molinari

7

F

T43

Nick Watney

7

F

T43

K.J. Choi

7

F

T47

Sandy Lyle

8

F

T47

Mike Weir

8

F

T47

Brandt Snedeker

8

F

T50

Joost Luiten

9

F

T50

Larry Mize

9

F

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