Abril 22, 2018

Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy Set for Masters Duel in Ryder Cup Rematch

08 Abril 2018, 10:54 | Benedicto Grullon

Patrick Reed catches a ball in the 17th green during the second round at the US Masters. Charlie Riedel AP

Patrick Reed catches a ball in the 17th green during the second round at the US Masters. Charlie Riedel  AP

The four-time major victor from Northern Ireland painted himself as the underdog, citing the fact Reed played college golf nearby at Augusta State, asserting the pressure is all on his opponent and saying, "I'm hoping to spoil the party".

Well, it's nearly Sunday at the Masters.

The pair, of course, went head to head in the singles round of the 2016 Ryder Cup in what was an explosive match that Reed won one up.

Reed's third round was more adventurous than his pursuers' experiences.

"Give me that putter", Fowler said, "and we'll go have some fun".

The duel could go either way, but one thing is absolutely certain: neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson will factor in Sunday's drama. There's a lot of stuff you can do at the Ryder Cup that you can't do at Augusta National. The pin placements were made more accessible as organizers braced for the expected hard conditions.

Patrick Reed remains in pole position to claim a maiden major title after extending his overnight advantage to three strokes, firing two eagles in a three-hole stretch to pull clear of the chasing pack. I got firsthand reports Saturday about Rickie Fowler's eagle at No. 2 and of Rory McIlroy's shot that careened off the top lip of a bunker on No. 5, bounding down the fairway and rolling close to the pin.

Patrick Reed of the United States reacts to an eagle on the 15th green during the third round of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia.

World number five Justin Rose, twice runner-up at Augusta in the last three years, is 11 shots off the lead after adding a 71 to rounds of 72 and 70.

Johnson, a stroke further back after a round that included a double bogey on the 11th, was equally frustrated with the outcome of his efforts on the greens.

"Yeah, I hit the trunk on the down swing and just whiffed it", Mickelson said. "But then to birdie two of the last four holes was huge".

"A great day", McIlroy said.

But as I relived the day through those messages, the thought occurred to me that the instant gratification of seeing and sharing the action isn't necessarily better. "All the pressure's on him tomorrow ..."

Really, though, this goes beyond Sunday's final round at Augusta National.

A year ago, McIlroy told me the first thought that comes to mind for him when he hears the words "the Masters" was stressful.

Fowler managed that on Saturday in his first bogey-free round at Augusta.

Reed produced a stunning reply with three straight gains between the eighth and 10th and, as McIlroy's round became somewhat scratchy on the back nine - bar a clutch birdie at 15 - the American's juggernaut largely continued to roll.

Casey shot a 3-under 69 in the third round Saturday and made a decent move up the leaderboard. "Playing all the holes well".

"I hit it well enough to hit a really good score, but it just wasn't to be", the Australian lamented.

The sad reality is that nearly every significant player in the game today really was in contention headed into the weekend. Still, all the pressure, he said, is on Reed.

"I meant to hook it 30 yards, and I put 40 yards of hook on it", Leishman said with a smile. "If you're going to shoot low, today's the day to do it".

"Shooting 7 under here is like shooting nearly 15 under somewhere else", Rahm said. "But I haven't been sharp with them, given the fact that I was playing well coming in, my practice sessions have been good, and just have not executed the way that I have been".

Right behind them are five major champions. Spieth settled for a quadruple-bogey 7 and lost his lead to Danny Willett.

"There was just a lid on the hole", Spieth said, estimating that he lipped out five or six putts.

Leishman seized on his moment with the best shot of the day.

"There's nothing you can do about the other guys". Yes, I want to win again. The best rounds we've seen to date are 65's, so both will need to post that kind of a round on Sunday if they are to make it to the top of the board. It appeared he let a host of players back into the tournament with a bogey on No. 3. Very few of them held the lines he wanted. Bad starts are tough to come back from.

"It's massive [playing in the final group]". "There were a lot of times where he would go ahead and hit up first, just so I didn't feel like I had to rush".

"I can't imagine there's going to be much chat out there tomorrow", McIlroy said.

Woods' ranking improves: Tiger Woods is making a move - in the world rankings, not the Masters leaderboard.

He called his eagle on the par-5 13th hole "special". Fleetwood is competing in his second Masters.

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