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Jack Nicklaus, a golf senior citizen at 50, nodded in agreement that he thought his sixth Masters championship in 1986 - when he was only 46 - was a nice way to bow out.

Yet he will enter this afternoon's final round of the 1990 event in third place, with a legitimate chance to win, and with an explanation for what he's doing in this situation.``I like encores,' he said. ``I don't have any other answer.'

He turned in his second straight sub-par round, a 69, to go with Friday's 70 and Thursday's 72. He is five shots back of another veteran, 47-year-old Raymond Floyd.

``It's been so many years since I set a target score (for the final round), I don't even know how to do it,' he said of his chances of catching the front-running Floyd. ``I think I'll need to double what I have now.'

Now 5-under par for three days, he will aim for 10-under. He shrugged at the pressure that sort of target might put on his aging shoulders.

``Nobody's immune to pressure,' Nicklaus said before quickly adding, ``however, that's what I enjoy.

``Pressure to me is the fun of the game. We all practice for a chas the round today.

``It was the worst I've hit the ball (off the tee) since I've used the driver,' he said of a new graphite shaft club that was a gift from the long-hitting Jumbo Ozaki. ``My swing was not exactly what I wanted all day. It had nothing to do with the driver.

``I kept shooting and watching the other guys scoring and I kept wondering when I was going to make something happen. But the interesting thing is that I wasn't really worried about going the other way. I thought I'd stay among the leaders.'


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