Buddies Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas ready to pounce at the Masters

Spieth carded 68 and Thomas 67 as they climbed the leaderboard and closed on the 36 hole pace-setter Justin Rose.

Last month Lee Westwood and his son Sam enjoyed what the former World No. 1 called "the ultimate lads and dads" trip, when they ventured to Augusta National for a pre-Masters sortie.

Had Justin Thomas not three-putted the 18th green on Friday afternoon, he and Jordan Spieth might have completed a double by turning Moving Day at the Masters into the ultimate buddy trip.

They were that close to being partnered in round three after the pair made the most of easier second round conditions to race through the field and close within a handful of shots of the halfway leader Justin Rose.

Spieth made a slow, but steady start, making the turn in 1-under, but he swapped four birdies and just the one bogey on the back nine to card a 4-under-par 68, good for a total of 5-under 137.

He heads into the weekend tied fourth, just two shots back of the lead and one ahead of Thomas who had been error-free through 17 holes, but marred his six birdie count with a nasty three-putt bogey from 22-feet at the last.

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He signed for a 5-under-par 67 and a halfway tally of 4-under 140 that has him in a tie for sixth.

It's not only a friendship that the two share: they also arrived at the course with recent victories under their belts and excellent course form to boost their morale.

Spieth's winning from is only a week old, following his success on Sunday in the Texas Open, while he also has the stronger course form, taking in victory in 2015, two seconds either side of that result, and third in 2018.

Memories of a disaster at the 12th hole in 2016's final round cast a shadow, however.

His quest to atone for that mistake will be one of the biggest stories at the weekend.

Thomas claimed victory in last month's PLAYERS Championship and the manner of that triumph will surely fuel his weekend hopes: he shot 64-68 to overcome a seven shot 36 hole deficit.

He also boasts a course record that is travelling in only one direction: T39th-T22nd-T17th-T12th-fourth.

Quite clearly, if he is to improve on that log book, he's bound to be a contender on Sunday.

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Spieth is now the favourite to win the tournament, priced 4/1 with Paddy Power, with Thomas the second favourite, priced 11/2 with Bet365.

Let's take a closer look at stats, course form and quotes from the two players.

Spieth's stats

Fairways hit: 22/28

Greens in Regulation: 30/36

Sand Saves: 4/5

Putting Average: 1.67

Spieth in round three at Augusta

He's played Saturday at the Masters seven times, breaking par five times and going sub-70 twice. He averages 70.57

In two of those seven efforts he closed on the lead, twice he lost the tournament lead, and once he held on to it.

His record from two shots back with 36 holes to play? It's never happened at Augusta, but in his career it's happened six times. He's won twice, been runner-up twice and was third on another occasion.

Spieth on his 4-under-par 68

On Friday's conditions:

"It was a lot easier today. The greens were softer and the wind wasn't as strong. Par felt like a good score yesterday and 3-under was the mark today."

Spieth: Conditions were much easier

On his position in the tournament:

"I had a bit of a lull, not really getting much to happen, and then I hit a shot out of the trees on 13 to set up birdie. I'm in position after 36 holes, I just want to move further up (the leaderboard) tomorrow."

On his Augusta National pedigree and prospect for the weekend:

"I've felt more in control of my game here in '14 and '15. It's getting there, but I don't have a ton of consistency.

"I'd just really like to roll more putts in. I've left five or six putts one foot short and I think the greens will speed up so don't need to make too much of an adjustment. I just need to be a little more aggressive."

Thomas's stats

Fairways hit: 15/28

Greens in Regulation: 28/36

Sand Saves: 2/2

Putting Average: 1.64

Thomas in round three at Augusta

His first Saturday witnessed an ugly 78, but since then he has carded two 71s, a 70 and a 69, averaging 71.80, but on only one occasion did he end Moving Day nearer the lead than he started it.

He's never been three back at halfway in the Masters, but he's held that position 13 times in his career. He's landed three top three finishes and just the one win (the 2020 Tournament of Champions).

Thomas on his 5-under-par 67

On making bogey at the 18th hole:

"I'm … well, mad is an understatement about what I'm feeling about 18 right now. That's a putt I was looking to make and I three-putted it. You just can't give up shots like that.

"But to nearly go bogey-free today, that was good. The greens were substantially softer than yesterday. You could tell they were getting a little firm yesterday so they watered them. I drove the ball better today. Got myself in position."

Thomas 'mad' after closing three-putt

On his improving form at Augusta and arriving as THE PLAYERS Champion:

"I'm always confident here, it's about how you play. I know how to get around this course. I could be playing poorly ahead of this week and feel I had a chance here.

"It's truly just about execution. I need to make more putts at the weekend. A lot of putts went near the hole today, I just need to make them."

READ MORE: Bryson DeChambeau back in the game after shooting his own version of Masters par

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