Augusta, Ga. – They are ranked third and eighth in the world.
Both shot 65 on Saturday of the Masters.
Both could claim the title of Best Current Player Never to Win a Major.
Both will enter the final round on Sunday knowing they need something close to a miracle to shed that designation.
On a rainy day that softened the greens at Augusta National, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm played brilliantly while positioning themselves to pounce should Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy falter.
“It’s not too settling when I see in the top four, that three of us have never won a major,” Rahm said. “And one of them ... oh! He made another eagle!”
Rahm was watching the scoreboard in the Augusta National interview room when he noticed that Reed had eagled the par-5 15th. “Hopefully, I have a chance,” he said. “It’s looking less likely by the second but, you know, it will be amazing to be a part of it, hopefully, come Sunday.”
Phil Mickelson has said Rahm has no weaknesses. He ranks third in the world. Seven of the past eight major winners had not won a major previously. Rahm is in fourth place at 8 under, six shots behind Reed.
He is trying to become the second Spaniard in a row to win the Masters. “Shooting 7 under here is almost like shooting 15 under somewhere else,” he said. “Doing it at Augusta National, where Spanish history is so big, it means a lot.
“Maybe the Spanish character and the Spanish game is built for this place, right?”
Rahm speaks excellent English. He taught himself by listening to Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.
The rap on Fowler is that he has squandered chances to win not just his first major but a slew of them. He has posted eight top-10s in majors, including two second-place finishes, and he finished in the top five in every major in 2014.
Saturday, he shot his first bogey-free round at Augusta National to reach 9 under and third place, and the source of his success was not mysterious. On Friday, he took 33 putts. On Saturday, he needed only 26 while posting his lowest score in a major.
“The golf tournament starts tomorrow on the back nine,” Fowler said.
He and Rahm will need some help from the leaders for that to prove true this year.