Somehow, his ball stopped on the steep slope, short of the water, and he pitched his third shot to 2 feet for birdie.
Fowler knows he faces a daunting leaderboard Sunday, from Rose and Garcia ahead of him, to 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who is in a three-way tie for fourth behind him, to 2013 Masters victor Adam Scott, who is seventh at 3 under.
They wound up tied for the lead Saturday on a tense afternoon that set the stage for a Masters finale that's up for grabs.
That includes Garcia, who has had close calls in every major he has played except the Masters - until now. Hoffman battled for par on the last hole to stay just two shots behind. Spieth followed Friday's 69 with a 68 to pull into a tie with Hoffman and Ryan Moore at minus-4.
Just like that, Hoffman's name slipped off the top line of the leaderboard - a spot he had commandeered with a brilliant 7-under 65 in treacherous winds on Thursday, giving him a four-shot cushion and biggest lead after the first round of the Masters since 1955.
Hoffman lamented his "bad swing" on 16 but chose to emphasize the two "good birdie looks" he had on 17 and 18, although he made neither one.
For the fourth year in a row, the 23-year-old Spieth has a good chance to win the Masters.
Jordan Spieth was not going to be defined by another quadruple bogey in a Masters. Garcia made bogey, dropping him to 3 under.
"I knew the first two days would be tough".
"It's going to be fun", Fowler said of Sunday's final round.
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TELEVISION 1 p.m.to 6 p.m. today, CBS Sports. Spieth's five-birdie, one-bogey round left him at 4-under for the tournament.
"That sort of stopped any momentum I had", McIlroy said. "You still need to play smart when you have to".
He believes it will be a thinking-man's game Sunday, particularly on the back nine.
"After finishing 12th here in 2012, Garcia famously claimed he was not good enough to win a major, but said on Friday: "'I was frustrated then but I probably didn't accept things as well as I should have. None has ever rowed back from such a deficit, but if anyone can it is the remarkable young American, who raced into contention with a third-round 68. He finished with a 75 and is five shots back at 1 under. He picked up two more on the par 5s and finished with birdie putts of 20 feet and 12 feet on the last two holes for a 5-under 67. It appeared to plunk into Rae's Creek but clung to the far bank, allowing him to chip it inches from the pin for a tap-in birdie. With a 4-iron in his hands, he reached it, then almost made a 29-foot eagle putt before tapping in for an easy birdie. "It gives you the possibly of getting a break like that".
Garcia, the 37-year-old Spaniard making his 19th Masters appearance, is leading the tournament for just the second time. They are at 6-under 210 for 54 holes.
Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler don't know what it feels like to win a major. He will play with Fowler in the second-to-last group this Sunday. That's all you want but really it starts on the back nine.
"I don't think so".
Jordan Spieth of the United States reacts to his birdie on the 15th green during the third round of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on 8 April, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. Spieth hit a shot onto the green that would make the late Arnold Palmer proud, and the putt came within one inch of dropping for an eagle. "No matter what happens, we will have a really good chance to win this with a good round (Sunday)". I needed to get into the red. Spieth remained at even par through two holes.
Unsurprisingly it was a par-five which played the easiest, with the 13th regaining its title from the opening day.