Lee Elder holed out a 25-foot chip shot for a birdie on the 18th but it was indicative of his up-and-down day in which he scored a third-round 72 for an even-par 216 at the three-quarter pole in the Masters today.

He was bunched with Gene Littler, Bob Shearer, Jerry Pate and Bruce Lietzke, seven strokes behind co-leaders Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson.

Elder admitted he had his chances, but every time he made a birdie he had to give a stroke back with a bogey. He had four birdies and four bogeys.

"I really thought I was going to score 68 or 69 today to stay close," he said. "I hit some great iron shots and at no time was intimidated by the course. But I couldn't seem to get it going. This is the type of golf course where anything can happen."

Elder had at least five more birdie opportunities in his erratic round but he couldn't seem to put everything together. He wedged away with pars. He had other chances, too.

He opened with a birdie on the first hole close at the fourth and fifth holes but came when he sank a 10-footer. "I thought that was going to be the start of the good round," he said, "but things started to happen. The second hole (par 5 over 555 yards) was a birdie hole today. But I caught the bunker on my second shot, came out, and two-putted."

Elder bogeyed the sixth and seventh holes. He was an the left edge of the green on the sixth, chipped 10 feet past and missed.

He bogeyed the seventh when he bunkered his second shot, came back eight feet from the cup and missed. He put a fine five-iron on the tricky ninth green six feet away and missed for a birdie.

He birdied the 13th from 20 feet and then gave that stroke back when he bogeyed the next hole. He birdied the long 15th when he got on the green in two with a four-wood and two-putted. But he dissipated that advantage on the short 16th over water when he three-putted. He parred the 17th and finished with a fillip when he chipped in on the 18th.

"I guess I got in a bad frame of mind after those two straight bogeys on the front side," he said. "Physcially, I'm feeling fine. I'm looking forward to the last round Sunday and hopefully, I'll come up with a hole round."