After a day that saw more twists and turns than a Disney ride and players throw double bogeys, triple bogeys or even worse around like confetti Tiger Woods and Justin Rose are only one shot off the lead going into the last round of the Masters.
Padraig Harrington is just two behind and Augusta debutant Bradley Dredge a mere three strokes back.
With halfway pacesetters Tim Clark and Brett Wetterich crashing to 80 and 83 respectively, Australian Stuart Appleby is the man out in front now.
But amazingly he sits on top of the leaderboard on two over par – by two strokes the highest 54-hole score that ever led the tournament in a history going back to 1934.
Appleby even plunged to a triple-bogey seven on the 17th and still ended the third round on top thanks to a 73.
“Augusta is a tough opponent – and will be tomorrow,” he said. “We all know what we are in for.”
In the cold, windy conditions on a course already rock hard the average score, hard though it is to believe, was over 77.
Retief Goosen’s 70 was the low round of the day and, having made the cut with nothing to spare at eight over, he still has a chance, as do defending champion Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and the others on six-over.
Woods moved up from 15th to second with a 72 – and would have led on his own but for bogeying the last two holes just as he did in Thursday’s first round.
Nevertheless, the world number one is poised now to challenge for a third successive major, his 13th in all and a fifth Masters victory in 11 years.
But he will have to do what he has not had to do for any of his previous 12 wins. Come from behind.
Rose, meanwhile, took the lead when he birdied the 15th – a hole that saw Geoff Ogilvy take nine, Paul Casey eight and Harrington one of many sevens – but then bogeyed the 16th and 17th.
Yet a 75 was good enough to take the 26-year-old from fourth to joint second and in with a great chance of turning his bitter disappointment of his last visit three years ago – an 81 after being the halfway leader – into triumph this time.
Woods’s move was ignited by birdies at the third, eighth and 13th. The 31-year-old had his first three-putt of the week at the 15th – for a par after making the green in two – but missed the fairway down the 17th and failed to get up and down from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker.
A perfect drive down the last was then wasted with an approach that came up badly short and after chipping 18 feet past the flag he could not salvage his par.
Asked if he had allowed the round to get away from him again Woods said: “Yeah. And then some.
“Quite frankly I didn’t look at the leaderboards. I was just plodding along. It was one of the hardest round we’ve ever had here.
“You know if you make 18 pars you are going to move up the leaderboard. That’s not usually the case.”
Rose, level par overnight, bogeyed the first two holes to bring back memories of 2004.
But the 26-year-old, vastly more experienced now, settled down, then hit his approach to 18 inches on the seventh and after bogeying the 10th made a 12-footer for a second birdie at the short 12th.
He dropped another shot on the 14th, but his birdie at the next came as Appleby was completely messing up the 17th by hooking into a bunker, hitting the lip, going in the same bunker as Woods and then three-putting.
However, Rose three-putted the 16th and could not get up and down from over the 17th.
“Obviously I got off to a bad start, somewhat reminiscent of three years ago,” he said.
“But what I was pleased about was that if didn’t affect me and turned it around.”