Jordan Spieth remained anchored at the top of the Masters leaderboard while Rory McIlroy was laboring in gusting winds as the marquee pair reached the third round turn at blustery Augusta National on Saturday.
It was moving day at the year's first major and there was plenty of that going on around Augusta as heavy winds had everything from chairs to hats cartwheeling down the slopes bordering some of the fairways.
But Spieth, who began the day clinging to a one-shot lead over McIlroy, refused to be dislodged from the top spot as he increased his advantage to three strokes over a hard-working Hideki Matsuyama.
After struggling through the opening two rounds, world number one Jason Day finally found some consistent form as he charged into contention with back-to-back birdies highlighted by a 69-footer at the 14th to get to one-under, four off the lead.
Joining the Australian at one-under were evergreen 58-year-old German Bernhard Langer, who won the first of his two Masters titles in 31 years ago, Americans Dustin Johnson, Scott Piercy and Smylie Kaufman, Englishman Danny Willett and McIlroy.
Tracked by massive galleries, the glamor group of Spieth and McIlroy had all the credentials of an all-star pairing with the Texan and the Northern Irishman having claimed four of the last six major championships played.
It marked the 13th time the dynamic duo had been paired together at a PGA Tour event but the first occasion over a weekend.
PHOTOS FROM THE MASTERS:
While McIlroy was bidding to become just the sixth man to complete a career grand slam of the four majors, Spieth was trying to join an even more exclusive club by becoming just the fourth to claim back-to-back Green Jackets.
Spieth was the first to make a move in the third round, rolling in a five-footer for birdie at the second, then increased his advantage to three when McIlroy bogeyed the third.
Both men bogeyed the tricky seventh, but Spieth edged further ahead by sinking a four-footer to birdie the eighth before comfortably parring the ninth.
Japanese Matsuyama, aged just 24 but playing in his fifth Masters, made a quick start with a birdie at the second, then bogeyed the third before picking up another shot at the eighth to head into the back nine at one-under for the round.