AUGUSTA, 8 Apr 2017, (AFP) - The Englishman turned in level par but then produced five birdies to sign for a 67 and lead the way at six under alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Garcia.
The Spaniard carded a battling 70 as he goes in search of a first Major Championship, but the European Tour duo will have to hold off an elite chasing pack if they are to go head-to-head on Sunday.
American Rickie Fowler was just a shot off the lead, one clear of 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and two more Americans in Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.
Hoffman and Garcia entered day three in a tie for the lead and were battling it out at the top of the leaderboard all day before Hoffman put his ball in the water on the 16th en route to a 72.
Fowler also came into Saturday at the top of the leaderboard while Spieth - who will not be in the final group on Sunday at Augusta for the first time in his career - signed for a 68.
Former champion Adam Scott was then at three under after a 69, a shot clear of 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel who came back from a four-shot deficit six years ago.
Belgian Thomas Pieters and England's Lee Westwood were then at one under, a shot clear of World Number Two Rory McIlroy, Dane Søren Kjeldsen and Spaniard Jon Rahm.
Rose had recorded two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine but came to life after the turn, putting his tee-shot to four feet on the 12th and getting on the par five 13th in two.
He took advantage of the other par five at the 15th and then put his approaches on the 17th and 18th inside 20 feet to hit top spot.
"It all happened for me the last eight holes," he said. "I think the patience I showed on the front nine was probably the key to moving well on the back nine.
"I had my head down. I knew I was creeping up on the leaders and then I had that quick birdie-birdie finish to put me pretty much right up there tied for the lead. It all seemed to happen really fast, setting up a really fun day tomorrow.
"I'm a Major champion but I'm looking for more and I'm certainly looking for my first Masters and my first Green Jacket. This is a place I dearly love and would dearly love to be part of the history here."
Garcia recovered from a poor tee-shot on the fifth to make a birdie with a stunning putt and, with Hoffman dropping a shot on the sixth, he was in a share of the lead.
Another poor tee-shot on the seventh led to a dropped shot but Garcia picked it straight back up on the next before surrendering another bogey on the ninth.
The Dubai Desert Classic champion then got some good fortune on the 13th as his ball looked to be heading into the water but gripped on the bank and he got up and down for birdie.
Another good up-and-down on the 15th then got him to six under before a smart par save on the last kept him in the lead.
"It was a good day," he said.
"I was able to fight hard with what I had, stayed very patient all day and it was nice to shoot a two under that was a good solid score.
"I need to be extra patient, I need to not lose my head, I need to stay calm and make sure no matter what happens, I need to keep going in the same direction because it feels good to me and I'm sure it looks good too. So no matter what happens I need to stay within myself.
"We still have one day to go, it's not going to be easy, we're going to have to play hard again and hopefully we will have a good solid chance coming into the last four or five holes."
Schwartzel and Westwood both signed for rounds of 68 with Pieters dropping back with a 75, while Kjeldsen and McIlroy both recorded rounds of 71.