Reed and Rory set for epic Masters duel
Augusta, Georgia, April 7: Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy will reprise one of the most epic battles in Ryder Cup history when they lock horns in the final group of the 2018 Masters Tournament, Reed chasing a maiden Major title and McIlroy eyeing an historic Grand Slam.
The first Major of the season was billed as one of the most eagerly anticipated in many years and the event is certainly living up to the hype, especially on an enthralling moving day which saw Reed, McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood all shoot in the mid-60s.
Nine of the top 12 players in the Official World Golf Ranking were within the top 15 of the leaderboard after round three, but it was the World Number 24 Reed who stole the show and delighted the patrons with four birdies and two eagles helping him to a five under 67 and a 14 under total.
“I think the biggest thing this week is just going out and playing golf. I’m trying not to allow the moment to take over me, really just go out and play some golf and just hit golf shots,” said Reed.
“I feel like I’m hitting the ball well enough, I feel like I’m putting well enough. I just need to go out and play the game and not worry about everything else and just play golf.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow. Obviously we’re both playing really solid golf, and to be able to go into a final round on Sunday at the first major and go up against each other and go out and play some good golf, it’s going to be a lot of fun to go out there. But really, I’m just going to do my thing and stick to my game plan and go out and enjoy my Sunday.”
Five shots clear of the field after an eagle at the 15th, Reed suffered a bogey on the 16th hole soon after McIlroy had put the galleries into raptures with a closing birdie to finish off a stunning third round 65, meaning it was just a three-stroke difference heading into the final day.
“It was a great day. I’m closer to the lead than I was starting off the day, which a bonus, especially when you see Patrick go out and shoot 67 and obviously play very well,” said McIlroy
“I rode my luck a little bit out there – the chip‑in on the eighth hole, finding my ball in the azaleas on 13, not the first time. Then hitting the tree on 18 and coming back in the fairway and making a birdie from that.
“I rode my luck a little bit out there today. Hopefully I don’t have to rely on it too much tomorrow, but it was just a great day. To get myself into the final group, and have a chance to win another major, I’m excited. You couldn’t ask for much more out of today.”
Fowler is five shots off Reed’s lead in third place on nine under par, while Rahm is one further back on eight under – both having signed for 67s. “Really there was nothing that needed to be changed today. I was playing really good, and I knew I was playing good. I went back on my round and I realized every time I missed the fairway, I basically made a bogey,” said Rahm.
“So I just focused on making sure I hit the fairways and make some putts, and I executed that really well yesterday on the back nine. I was keeping it in play, just keeping it in the right spots on the fairway, hitting good shots and making putts.
“Today I kept doing the same thing. Luckily there were shots like today on one where I missed the fairway and was able to make a birdie. But didn’t miss many of the fairways, and the ones I missed was not by much. I always had a shot to the green. Really that was the difference, and then just being able to make the putts.”
For Henrik Stenson, it was a day of unforced errors: “I’m doing a lot of things good, but the long game is not where I need to have it. Today it was a challenge to climb up the leaderboard and that was kind of the sad let down this week, too many unforced errors earlier.
“I didn’t really feel like I hit that many poor shots today, but I’m just not quite getting it close enough and I can’t challenge off the tee the way I would have liked to either. So I’m playing my way around this golf course in a pretty smart and good way, my short game and putting is pretty good and I’ll keep on fighting. I made a lot of par saves when I had to and I’m just not making enough birdies to challenge the best.”
Tommy Fleetwood shot a six-under 66 to move back into contention: “The front nine was sort of steady, but I played great from the get‑go. I hit two good shots into one and from the first two, three, four holes I was in a good rhythm. The only time I was out of position, I got the wind a little bit wrong on five and into a bunker, but I kind of had my chances the first 11 holes and didn’t make enough of them.
“And then it was nice to hole one on 12 and then just get on that little bit of a run. It’s strange coming off Augusta disappointed with a 66, but it was a very, very good day.”
202 P Reed (USA) 69 66 67,
205 R McIlroy (Nir) 69 71 65,
207 R Fowler (USA) 70 72 65,
208 J Rahm (Esp) 75 68 65,
209 H Stenson (Swe) 69 70 70,
210 B Watson (USA) 73 69 68, T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 72 66, M Leishman (Aus) 70 67 73,
211 J Spieth (USA) 66 74 71, J Thomas (USA) 74 67 70,
212 D Johnson (USA) 73 68 71,
213 J Rose (Eng) 72 70 71, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 71 71 71, C Smith (Aus) 71 72 70,
215 J Walker (USA) 73 71 71, T Finau (USA) 68 74 73, J Day (Aus) 75 71 69, C Hoffman (USA) 69 73 73, M Kuchar (USA) 68 75 72, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 73 72,
216 S Kodaira (Jpn) 71 74 71, A Hadwin (Can) 69 75 72, F Molinari (Ita) 72 74 70, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 75 74 67, H Matsuyama (Jpn) 73 71 72, K Kisner (USA) 72 75 69, S Kim (Kor) 75 73 68, R Henley (USA) 73 72 71,
217 H Li (Chn) 69 76 72,
218 J Vegas (Ven) 77 69 72, A Scott (Aus) 75 73 70, D Berger (USA) 73 74 71, Z Johnson (USA) 70 74 74, R Moore (USA) 74 72 72, P Casey (Eng) 74 75 69,
219 W Simpson (USA) 76 73 70, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 76 74, F Couples (USA) 72 74 73, B Langer (Ger) 74 74 71,
220 T Woods (USA) 73 75 72, B Grace (RSA) 73 73 74, B Dechambeau (USA) 74 74 72,
221 X Schauffele (USA) 71 78 72, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 79 70 72, K Stanley (USA) 72 74 75, M Kaymer (Ger) 74 73 74,
222 T Hatton (Eng) 74 75 73, C Reavie (USA) 76 71 75, D Ghim (am) (USA) 72 76 74,
223 B Harman (USA) 73 74 76, P Mickelson (USA) 70 79 74, I Poulter (Eng) 74 75 74,
224 V Singh (Fij) 71 74 79,