Reed wins Masters for first major title

Grant Boone
April 10, 2018

But the Golfing God seems to be smiling early on the fans as American Patrick Reed and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy moved into what should be a mano-a-mano contest for the Green Jacket after Saturday's third round.

That's where he would finish after a par on nine, a bogey at the par-5 15 and a birdie at the par-3 16th.

Reed, who memorably beat McIlroy in an epic Ryder Cup matchplay tussle at Hazeltine in 2016, has never won a major title.

"There's a lot of stuff that you can do at a Ryder Cup that you can't do at Augusta National", Reed said with a smile.

The leading duo are seperated by three strokes with the rest of the field more than five shots off the pace but both went to great lengths not to discuss Sunday's round in terms of a head-to-head match play duel for the Green Jacket.

"It's definitely not a two horse race at this point".

"I can't imagine this will be the same", Reed said.

They stood on their toes - some of them hopped in place - to try to see over all the heads lining the 13th fairway to check if his shot cleared the tributary in front of the green. "I got a lot more comfortable with the course throughout the years", Reed said.

McIlroy can only hope he didn't use up all his luck.

With rare exceptions, the golfers who are high on the leader board at Augusta do their scoring on the par 5s, as Woods used to do and as this year's leader, Patrick Reed, has done.

Reed's next eagle, on the par-5 15th hole, did just that.

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He pulled his second tee shot left and then missed a 5-footer for par. He watched an errant tee shot at the final hole ricochet back into the fairway, setting up a birdie that could have easily been a bogey. "I wish this week would have been a little bit better".

Asked if he knew what was troubling his swing, Woods said, "I know what the problem is". Rory McIlroy (71) is off to his best 36-hole start in seven years and is looking as poised as ever to capture the fourth leg of the career Grand Slam. With Woods knowledge of the course and workable greens this Sunday Woods stepped up and made a clean steady stroke.

Woods on Saturday finally did shoot a round that wasn't over par, an even 72, but that left him at 73-75-72 - 220, four over for 54 holes, a figurative million miles off the lead. "It's awesome that when you go through something like this, you don't sleep for two days, [that] you get a lot more emotional".

Patrick Reed reacts to his eagle on the 13th hole during the third round at the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Augusta, Ga.

The Australian, who made a double-bogey on the same hole in the first round, weighed other options before finally opting for the risky play of hooking it around a tree and over the water.

Spieth answered with a birdie of his own at the par-5 15th, rolling in a testy, 6-foot putt that made him 8 under for the day and 13 under overall.

Keeping it won't be easy, not on this stage.

"I feel like all aspects of my game are in really good shape, and I'm much more relaxed", McIlroy said. "I feel like I'm putting the ball well enough", Reed said. Hole some putts. But he's going for the career grand slam.

McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm each shot 65 to get within striking distance of Reed. It was the day that I realized I wasn't ready to win major championships, and I needed to reflect on that and realize what I needed to do differently. "But it's just frustrating being out there when you know you don't have a chance". Jack Burke Jr. did it in 1956. Spieth's slide is a reminder to not overreact to the first day. But he won't so far as to call it a home match, although there will be some old Augusta State teammates and supporters there, according to Reed.

"Tiger Woods is always a huge draw in the golf world", Vivid Seats said of the increase in demand.

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