Reed, McIlroy chase golf history, green jacket at Masters

Jonathan Hernandez
April 10, 2018

Patrick Reed birdied the eighth and ninth holes to build a two-shot lead over a charging Rory McIlroy midway through Saturday's third round of the 82nd Masters.

McIlroy outscored Reed by two strokes each day when playing alongside Reed on the first two days of the 2014 Masters, but the biggest memory of them as rivals was from the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, when United States firebrand Reed edged Europe's McIlroy 1 up in an epic clash.

"Today was probably the hardest mentally a round of golf can possibly be", Reed said.

"It's going to be good fun", McIlroy said.

Once a maestro over Augusta National's four par-5 holes, Woods is simply a mess now, 1-under on them for the week with two bogeys and a birdie Saturday. It's the final day when the best and most in-form players shoot-out for the title of Masters Champion 2018, as well as the legendary Green Jacket and (gulp) $11m in prize money. "It was really satisfying". Reed won the match 1-up.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson, the 2016 British Open victor, was fifth on 209 with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and first-time major win hopefuls Marc Leishman of Australia and Tommy Fleetwood of England on 210. The player so many fans wanted to see was about done.

Rory McIlroy, sitting three strokes behind Reed after the third round, wasted no time in playing mind games, saying, "All the pressure's on him tomorrow".

"We're not here to lay up", Leishman said.

Reed, 27, knows his pugnacious nature makes him a lightning rod, with his backstory of conflict stirring emotions in those who root for him and against him.

Reed, McIlroy chase golf history, green jacket at Masters
Reed, McIlroy chase golf history, green jacket at Masters

But a awful drive on the 18th for the second time this week led to a crucial bogey and more Augusta demons, after he squandered a five-shot lead with nine to play in 2016 in defence of his title. There were triumphant fist pumps with each of them.

Reed could be the most unsafe player at Augusta Sunday, as he had four birdies and two eagles in the third round.

Patrick Reed reacts after his bidie on the 10th hole during the third round at the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. The 29-year-old world No7 had come agonisingly close to making the 2011 Masters his first major victory before a heart-breaking meltdown on the back nine on Sunday. "I was pleased with the way I was able to drive it, but I just could not convert with my irons". "When I did have opportunities I didn't take advantage of them". Bad starts are tough to come back from. "It's happened many times where a big lead disappears or even gets cut down".

"It was huge, especially with Rickie and Rory", Reed said.

Of a footnote, Reed did fail in his bid to become the first man in 82 Masters events to break 70 for all four days, but he will care little after forging his place in golfing history with such a resilient display, marked by superb putting under pressure.

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.

Reed missed a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 13th just minutes after Spieth drained a 35-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th. Willett also missed the cut past year. Spieth, Rahm or Justin Thomas could have overtaken him by winning. And as Woods pointed out about his miracle spinal fusion surgery, "six months ago I didn't know I'd be playing golf". "All in all it was a bittersweet ending". The latter made a brilliant birdie putt on the 18th hole to give this Masters, which had a leaderboard loaded with major winners when the day began, an epic match-play finale.

The poor round left Woods, competing in his first major since 2015, just one shot above the cut-line but a distant 13 shots back of world number 24 Reed, who is hoping to pen a comeback of his own after missing the cut a year ago.

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