Seeking his first win of the season, the long-hitting Watson opened with rounds of 70-62. He began his third round with an eagle-birdie start and held steady on a day that featured mild winds. Watson, a former University of Georgia golfer, stands at 17-under-par.
Keegan Bradley, the reigning PGA Champhionship winner, shot a bogey-free 66 to climb into a second place with Justin Rose at 14-under. Rose shot 69.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot 65 and is tied for eighth place at 9-under with Tiger Woods, who carded 68.
Augusta native Charles Howell shot 71 and is tied for 14th place at 8-under.