Woodland goes low on front nine, four back

LARRY FINE
Last updated 06:01 13/04/2014
Gary Woodland
Getty Images
MOVING UP: Gary Woodland started the day at three-over but after a record-equalling six-under 30 on the front nine, surge into contention during the third round of the Masters.

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American Gary Woodland roared into contention early in the third round of the Masters by posting a record-tying six-under-par 30 for the front nine at Augusta National on Saturday (local time).

Woodland, who began the warm, sunny day 10 strokes behind halfway leader Bubba Watson, shot up the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle over his first nine and then added a birdie at the 10th to move within three shots of the 2012 champion.

Watson was teeing off at 2.45pm local time (6.45am NZ time) along with Australian John Senden, who was three off the pace at four under par heading into the third round.

Hot weather forecast for Saturday was expected to further firm up the fast-running Augusta layout, but Woodland and others took advantage of their early start times.

Woodland, 29, birdied the first, eagled the par-five second and birdied six, eight and nine to match the record low score for the outward half previously shot by Johnny Miller (1975), Greg Norman (1988), KJ Choi (2004) and Phil Mickelson (2009).

The long-hitting Woodland, a two-time PGA tour winner ranked 48th in the world, birdied the 10th for good measure as he threatened to challenge the Masters record of nine-under-par 63 shared by Nick Price (1986) and Norman (1996).

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ian Poulter also took advantage of the morning conditions.

Spanish veteran Jimenez, one of four players past the age of 50 who made the cut, was four under par through 11 holes to reach one-under for the tournament.

England's Poulter was three under par through six to also stand one-under for the championship.

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