Jordan Spieth
Spieth in control ahead of final round at Augusta. Getty

Jordan Spieth has eased away from Rory McIlroy and holds onto his lead going into the final day of the Masters. After a brilliant second round performance where he reduced Spieth's lead to just one shot, McIlroy endured a day to forget on Saturday, slipping to three over par and failing to sink a single birdie all day.

Spieth meanwhile endured a rocky start on the front nine in swirling winds around Augusta, but held his nerve with some smart putting, finishing the day three under 73 and on course to win a second green jacket in as many years. A poor finish, marked by a double bogey on the 18th gives some hope for the chasing pack, however.

Smylie Kaufman will enter the final day in second place after finishing two under 68 while 58-year-old Bernhard Langerand and Hideki Matsuyama were the only other two to finish under par.

McIlroy, 26, suffered his first setback on the third hole, almost finding a 20-footer for par only for it to come up short for his first bogey of the day, falling three shots behind the defending champion.

He had opportunities to reduce his lead on the seventh after Spieth found himself in the sand, but again failed to capitalise, dragging a simple putt shot wide. After another dropped shot on the 10th, the Northern Irishman did himself no favours on the 11th, overhitting his tee shot straight into the pines and watched on ashen-faced as he it trickled down into the water, carding another double bogey.

What was meant to be a memorable showdown between the top two in golf lacked the quality many would have expected from the pair. An error-strewn battle ended on the 18th when McIlroy again dragged a birdie shot wide with Spieth carding a double bogey on his final shot.

Masters leaderboard: -3 Jordan Spieth, -2 Smylie Kaufman, -1 Bernhard Langer, Hideki Matsuyama, Level Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Danny Willett