Abril 24, 2018

Reed, McIlroy to battle for green jacket at Augusta

09 Abril 2018, 09:03 | Gerardo Tarin

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Earning his first win on golf's major championship stage, Reed also held off a stern challenge from Jordan Spieth with the 2015 Masters champion carding a 64 to finish solo third at 13 under.

Reed, runner-up in last year's PGA but yet to land a major title, missed a short putt to bogey the 16th and a seven-foot birdie chance at the last, but is the first man since Lee Westwood in 2010 to play his first three rounds under 70 at the Masters.

Tiger Woods hit another shot into Rae's Creek, didn't make a birdie until the 13th hole and wound up with a 3-over 75, leaving him 13 shots behind Patrick Reed.

Reed, who goes into today's play on 14-under, still has a three-shot advantage on four-time Major victor McIlroy (11-under).

McIlroy had already made three birdies before a chip-in eagle at the eighth and then scrambled to save par after his ball found the azaleas behind the 13th green.

"It was as easy as I think you're going to get them at Augusta, pretty much", said Tommy Fleetwood, who shot 66.

Jack Burke owns the record Masters last-round comeback to win at eight strokes, which means three-time major victor Jordan Spieth and 2017 PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas need a record rally from 211. He says he learned from his mistakes - McIlroy won the first of his four majors at the U.S. Open two months later - and loves the idea that he has nothing to lose being three shots behind. And he was headed for a 41 on the front nine until he made a 10-foot par putt.

Both Reed and McIlroy, however, said it would be risky to go into Sunday with eyes only for each other. "Given the fact that I was playing well coming in, my practice sessions have been good, I just have not executed the way that I have been". He just could not come back after that.

He bogeyed his final hole for a 79, the second time in three years he posted that number.

"There's a lot more players in this golf tournament than just Patrick Reed and I", he explained.

Sitting nine shots off the pace at the start of the day, Spieth was an after thought as spectators filed into Augusta National but was once again in the Masters spotlight when the Green Jacket was up for grabs.

Fowler holed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 67.

It's odd because Reed is probably one of the most disliked golfers on tour and apparently with fans, too. He finished one over for the tournament and left the hallowed grounds feeling a little better about his game.

He kept the consistency going on the back nine, hitting back from a dropped shot at the 11th to birdie the 12th and 14th holes.

McIlroy lost out in that electric Hazeltine battle with Reed as the Americans claimed their first Ryder Cup since 2008 at Valhalla.

Patrick Reed is leading a major championship for the first time, and his confidence is so high that he can only see what's ahead of him.

"Yeah, I hit the trunk on the down swing and just whiffed it", Mickelson said. And I had missed it for the last couple of years, I hadn't been able to play in it.

The needling was no surprise given their history - specifically Reed's 1 up victory, secured with a birdie at 18, which set the tone for the US Ryder Cup victory over Europe.

Add a Green Jacket and a major title on top of all the statistical accomplishments, he really won't care what you or anyone thinks. And then at the Masters, it wasn't. "Of course it's frustrating and it's hard to take any positives from it right now but at least I put myself in a position, that's all I've wanted to do".

"Hopefully, all I did learn seven years ago, I can put into practice", McIlroy said. "And now to be able to play this golf course and to be able to tee it up and play in the Masters, this is one of the greatest walks in all of golf".

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