Young Spieth not money in bank just yet at Masters

Even with a big lead going into the final round of the Masters, Jordan Spieth would be wise not to look over his shoulder.

The guys chasing him are not just normal guys. Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are major champions and the biggest names in the game. And crazy things can happen on a Sunday at Augusta National.

Spieth, 16 under par and holding a four-shot lead, is a minus-240 favorite against the field, according to adjusted odds at the Westgate Las Vegas sports book.

“You have such a small set of guys who will have a realistic chance, but Rose and Mickelson definitely do,” Westgate golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said. “Those two guys have been around long enough and have majors under their belt, and they can start to put pressure on him.”

Spieth (5-12 odds) is followed by Rose (9-2) and Mickelson (6-1). Rose is second and in the final pairing with Spieth, and Mickelson trails by five shots.

Tied for the lead with Bubba Watson going into last year’s final round, Spieth slipped on the back nine, lost a two-stroke advantage and was overtaken by Watson. The 21-year-old has a comfortable lead this time, but history suggests he’s not safe. Four years ago, McIlroy was 21 and sitting on a four-shot lead at the Masters. McIlroy suffered a final-round meltdown by shooting 80 and crying his eyes out.

“I think last year’s experience is going to help Spieth,” Sherman said.

Charley Hoffman, a former UNLV player, is quietly contending at 10 under. After getting pre-tournament odds as high as 250-1, Hoffman is at 30-1 entering the final round. He will be paired with Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion who made a move Saturday by firing a 67.

McIlroy (60-1) and Woods (80-1) are each 10 shots behind Spieth. McIlroy is a minus-150 favorite in a fourth-round matchup against Woods.

“When Tiger’s playing well, it’s fun to watch,” Sherman said. “It’s entertainment.”

Spieth left the door open by carding a double bogey on the 17th hole. He made a spectacular par save on the 18th to maintain momentum.

“It was a big putt for Spieth on 18. If he ended up going double-bogey and bogey, and had to sleep on that, it’s a totally different mindset,” Sherman said. “The course has been playing so easy for all three days. I hope Augusta National makes some really challenging pin placements. Some of the guys have not been tested that much. I hope it’s more challenging.”

Wagering will remain open until the final three groups begin to tee off at around 11:30 a.m., and the Westgate is also offering live wagering during the final round.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

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