AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 8 (Reuters) - On a congested U.S. Masters leaderboard full of major champions and big names, American Ryan Moore has slipped quietly under the radar in his bid to win a first major title.
The 34-year-old has put together rounds of 74, 69 and 69 to move to four under par, two shots behind leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia and right in the mix.
”It’s never a bad thing to be under the radar,“ Moore told reporters. ”It can’t hurt. I like to just kind of pace myself and do my thing.
“But I’ve got to go out and play good golf tomorrow, that’s all that matters in the end.”
Moore produced another solid round on Saturday, posting six birdies to offset three bogeys to sit alongside compatriots Jordan Spieth and Charley Hoffman on the Augusta leaderboard.
”It was very similar to yesterday,“ he said. ”I shot the ball really nice off the tee, which is so important out here now.
“I was able to the hit some irons around the hole which gave me some opportunities and made a couple of putts when I needed to, a couple of breaks, par savers in there, and a couple of nice birdies.”
Moore, the world number 38 who has registered five PGA Tour victories, enjoyed his finest hour when he beat Lee Westwood in the singles at last year’s Ryder Cup to clinch victory for the United States over Europe.
But the soft spoken American is usually happy to stay out of the limelight.
“I‘m really not an emotional up-and-down person in general,” he said. “I learned at a young age that does not work on the golf course for me.”
Moore will play in the final round with Hoffman, who had been in the lead since an impressive opening 65 in blustery winds, but dropped three shots over the closing holes on Saturday on the way to a 72.
“Everything was good, I put myself in position pretty much all day,” said Hoffman, 40, who is also chasing his maiden major.
The world number 52 made a bad error on the par-three 16th hole, pulling a seven-iron into water and making a double-bogey.
“The swing on 16, it happens,” Hoffman said. “It was a bad one. I was able to regroup and make a couple pars coming in, two birdie looks. I‘m two back, I’ve been playing good golf and I‘m really happy with where I‘m at.” (Editing by Larry Fine)