Hanson claims third round Masters lead

Bubba Watson of the US celebrates winning the Masters with his mother Mollie during a playoff in the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament.
Bubba Watson of the US celebrates winning the Masters with his mother Mollie during a playoff in the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament.
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa awards the green jacket to Bubba Watson of the United States during the green jacket presentation after Watson's one-stroke to win the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta.
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa awards the green jacket to Bubba Watson of the United States during the green jacket presentation after Watson's one-stroke to win the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta.
Bubba Watson of the United States hugs Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa after Watson won their sudden-death playoff on the second playoff hole to win the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta.
Bubba Watson of the United States hugs Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa after Watson won their sudden-death playoff on the second playoff hole to win the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa reacts after missig a putt on the second sudden death playoff hole on the 10th during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa reacts after missig a putt on the second sudden death playoff hole on the 10th during the final round of the 2012 Masters Tournament.
Bubba Watson of the United States hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round.
Bubba Watson of the United States hits a tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa drives off the eighth tee during the final round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa drives off the eighth tee during the final round.
Phil Mickelson of the United States hits a shot out of the rough on the ninth hole during the final round.
Phil Mickelson of the United States hits a shot out of the rough on the ninth hole during the final round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa celebrates with his caddie Wynand Stander after making an albatross on the second hole during the final round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa celebrates with his caddie Wynand Stander after making an albatross on the second hole during the final round.
Bubba Watson of the United States lines up a putt as caddie Ted Scott looks on during the final round.
Bubba Watson of the United States lines up a putt as caddie Ted Scott looks on during the final round.
Bubba Watson flips his putter in the air after missing a putt on the 16th green.
Bubba Watson flips his putter in the air after missing a putt on the 16th green.
South African Louis Oosthuizen reacts after a wayward tee shot on the 15th hole.
South African Louis Oosthuizen reacts after a wayward tee shot on the 15th hole.
Phil Mickelson pumps his fist after birdieing the 18th hole for the third straight day.
Phil Mickelson pumps his fist after birdieing the 18th hole for the third straight day.
Leader Peter Hanson exchanges clubs with his caddie during the third round.
Leader Peter Hanson exchanges clubs with his caddie during the third round.
Matt Kuchar acknowledges the crowd after a birdie at the seventh hole.
Matt Kuchar acknowledges the crowd after a birdie at the seventh hole.
Rory McIlroy chips from behind the first green during a tough third round.
Rory McIlroy chips from behind the first green during a tough third round.
Italy's Francesco Molinari ponders what went wrong on his approach shot to the 17th green.
Italy's Francesco Molinari ponders what went wrong on his approach shot to the 17th green.
Tiger Woods chips out of the bunker in front of the eighth green during his even par third round.
Tiger Woods chips out of the bunker in front of the eighth green during his even par third round.
Englishman Lee Westwood tees off on the picturesque 17th tee at Augusta.
Englishman Lee Westwood tees off on the picturesque 17th tee at Augusta.
Miguel Angel Jiminez and his caddie Pascual Jiminez walk past the water on the way to the 15th green.
Miguel Angel Jiminez and his caddie Pascual Jiminez walk past the water on the way to the 15th green.
Second round co-leader Jason Dufner in front of the leaderboard at the 18th hole.
Second round co-leader Jason Dufner in front of the leaderboard at the 18th hole.
South Korea's Bae Sang-Moon chips from between the patrons towards the ninth green.
South Korea's Bae Sang-Moon chips from between the patrons towards the ninth green.
Bubba Watson plays a chip-shot from the front of the 18th green.
Bubba Watson plays a chip-shot from the front of the 18th green.
Sergio Garcia lines up a putt on the 18th green during his four-under round of 68 to get to -4.
Sergio Garcia lines up a putt on the 18th green during his four-under round of 68 to get to -4.
Tiger Woods uses some body english to try to coax a putt to move the way he wants.
Tiger Woods uses some body english to try to coax a putt to move the way he wants.
Fred Couples walks off the 13th green with his caddie David Kerr.
Fred Couples walks off the 13th green with his caddie David Kerr.
First round leader Lee Westwood watches his tee short carefully on the 15th hole.
First round leader Lee Westwood watches his tee short carefully on the 15th hole.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes cover on his way to the 16th tee.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes cover on his way to the 16th tee.
American Jonathan Byrd hits out of a bunker next to the 18th green.
American Jonathan Byrd hits out of a bunker next to the 18th green.
First round leader Lee Westwood of England leads playing partner Vijay Singh of Fiji to the 16th green.
First round leader Lee Westwood of England leads playing partner Vijay Singh of Fiji to the 16th green.
American Bubba Watson swings his pink club on the 17th hole tee.
American Bubba Watson swings his pink club on the 17th hole tee.
Tiger Woods splashes out of a sand trap on the 17th hole.
Tiger Woods splashes out of a sand trap on the 17th hole.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson during his troubled 18th hole, where a quadruple bogey saw him lose the lead.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson during his troubled 18th hole, where a quadruple bogey saw him lose the lead.
American Phil Mickelson warns the gallery after an errant tee shot on the fourth hole.
American Phil Mickelson warns the gallery after an errant tee shot on the fourth hole.
Miguel Angel Jiminez of Spain finds his ball near Rae's Creek in front of the 13th green.
Miguel Angel Jiminez of Spain finds his ball near Rae's Creek in front of the 13th green.
Spectators take up a vantage point behind the first tee on the first day of the US Masters at Augusta.
Spectators take up a vantage point behind the first tee on the first day of the US Masters at Augusta.
Phil Mickelson hits his approach shot to the green on the first hole.
Phil Mickelson hits his approach shot to the green on the first hole.
Two children of South African golfer Rory Sabbatini run up the fairway during the pre-US Masters par-three tournament.
Two children of South African golfer Rory Sabbatini run up the fairway during the pre-US Masters par-three tournament.
A trio of greats share a joke during the pre-US Masters par-three tournament. From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
A trio of greats share a joke during the pre-US Masters par-three tournament. From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Thomas Bjorn (R) and entourage celebrate the Danish golfer's hole-in-one on the ninth hole of the pre-US Masters par-three tournament.
Thomas Bjorn (R) and entourage celebrate the Danish golfer's hole-in-one on the ninth hole of the pre-US Masters par-three tournament.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer gives the thumbs up to the gallery at Augusta.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer gives the thumbs up to the gallery at Augusta.
Rory McIlroy admires an iron shot during practice.
Rory McIlroy admires an iron shot during practice.
Big crowds gathered to watch players go through their paces in the practice round prior to the start of the Masters at Augusta National.
Big crowds gathered to watch players go through their paces in the practice round prior to the start of the Masters at Augusta National.
Tom Watson hits a tee shot during practice.
Tom Watson hits a tee shot during practice.
Spectators take photos of Tiger Woods during a practice round.
Spectators take photos of Tiger Woods during a practice round.
Lee Westwood of England hits a tee shot on in front of a gallery of patrons during a practice round.
Lee Westwood of England hits a tee shot on in front of a gallery of patrons during a practice round.
Magnolia Lane's 60 magnolia trees and the clubhouse are seen at Augusta National Golf Club before The Masters .
Magnolia Lane's 60 magnolia trees and the clubhouse are seen at Augusta National Golf Club before The Masters .
A security gaurd opens the gate to allow patrons entrance during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.
A security gaurd opens the gate to allow patrons entrance during a practice round prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.
Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara practice putts on the green during a practice round.
Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara practice putts on the green during a practice round.
KJ Choi reacts after holing out a shot from the fairway as his caddie Andy Prodger looks on during a practice round.
KJ Choi reacts after holing out a shot from the fairway as his caddie Andy Prodger looks on during a practice round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa looks at a shot with his caddie Wynand Stander during a practice round.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa looks at a shot with his caddie Wynand Stander during a practice round.
Ian Poulter (L) of England talks with his caddie Terry Mundy during a practice round.
Ian Poulter (L) of England talks with his caddie Terry Mundy during a practice round.

Phil Mickelson stormed up the Masters leaderboard today to finish within a shot of surprise third round leader Peter Hanson and restore some sense of normality to the first major of the year.

Mickelson produced a dazzling display of shot-making and nerveless putting in a flawless six-under-par 66 on a day when Rory McIlroy relived his worst nightmare and Tiger Woods faded out of contention.

The left-hander, already a three-time Masters champion, entered the clubhouse at eight-under for the tournament and breathing down the neck of Hanson, who birdied the last two holes for a 65, the best round of the tournament.

"I love it here and I love nothing more than being in the last group on Sunday at the Masters. It's the greatest thing in professional golf," said Mickelson.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, the runaway winner of the 2010 British Open, put himself in the frame for a second major with a 69 to be third at seven-under while American Bubba Watson was a further shot back after a 70.

The third round is traditionally known as 'Moving Day' and, more than any other tournament, the intense pressure of the Masters brings out the best and worst in every golfer.

While the leaders were thriving in the pressure-cooker atmosphere, McIlroy and Woods both walked off the 18th dejected and frustrated.

McIlroy began the day in a tie for third but for the second consecutive year at Augusta National the Northern Irishman's game collapsed and he tumbled down the leaderboard.

Eight different players, including Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson, had a share of the lead at various stages during the round, but McIlroy was never in the hunt.

After starting the day one shot behind overnight leaders Fred Couples and Jason Dufner, McIlroy shot a five-over-par 77, that included two double-bogeys, to end at one over.

He took 42 shots for the front nine, rekindling memories of last year when he held a four-shot lead at the start of the final day but closed with an 80.

"Seems like every year I come here I throw a bad nine holes out there," McIlroy said.

"I think if I can finish top 10 it would be a really good result. So if I can go out there tomorrow and shoot something in the mid 60s and walk away from here with a top 10, I'd be very pleased."

WORST FINISH

A frustrated Woods failed to make up any ground on the leaders and was in danger of his worst finish at the Masters since he turned professional.

Needing to shoot a low score to get back into contention, the four-times champion could only manage an even-par 72 to remain at three over.

He made a bright start, with birdies at the third and fourth holes, as the crowd let out a mighty roar that echoed through the pine trees but failed to make another birdie all day as his emotions started to boil over.

On the 13th tee, he slammed his club into the ground after hooking his drive into the banks of Rae's Creek. On the previous day, he kicked one of his irons after missing a green, but said he was sorry for his petulant behaviour.

"Certainly I'm frustrated at times and I apologise if I offended anybody by that," Woods said.

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel also ended his chance of winning another green jacket after the South African shot a 75 to end the day at six over while England's world number one Luke Donald was a further shot back after also signing for a 75.

Mickelson started the day at two-under. He parred the first nine holes before making his move on the back nine, which he covered in just 30 shots, featuring four birdies and an eagle.

Hanson bogeyed the opening hole but did not make another mistake all day, reeling off eight birdies to lead a major for the first time.

"It's a new situation to me. I've been up on the leaderboard a few times, but I've never led in anything like this," said the Swede.

"I know it's going to be a tough night ... I probably won't be watching a lot of Golf Channel."

Reuters