The 14-time Major champion struggled in the tough scoring conditions mixing three bogeys with a double-bogey and two birdies for a three-over 75 that put him on four-over for the week.
Maybe that’s just as well at this Masters. He putted from the fringe to 6 feet and then drained it, flashing the kind of putter prowess that carried him (10 putts) on the back nine in the opening round Thursday.
“Obviously we’re both playing really solid golf to be able to go into a final round on Sunday at the first major”.
Pre-tournament publicity for four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods was off the charts – understandably so considering his improbable comeback from severe back problems that threatened to end his career prematurely. For any of them to win, they would have to shoot a very low number and have both Reed and McIlroy and all the others on that list fall precipitously down the leaderboard.
“I’ve taken a lot of punches on this golf course, and in tournaments in general”, Spieth said.
Woods and Mickelson probably don’t.
So Spieth remained calm despite losing a two-shot lead on the first two holes. 2 and 3, missing birdie putts on consecutive holes and providing an early indicator of his round. It was simply golf by one of the greatest players.
“I feel like all the pressure is on him”, the 28-year-old McIlroy said of Reed, who’s never won a major title. “I’m not in control of my own destiny”.
Reed was 11 under entering 13 after a bogey on 12, but quickly made up for the lost shot and more. He was in the lead on the 10 tee on Sunday and famously duck hooked his tee shot into an area left of the tee that nobody had ever seen. On this Saturday they are well represented with Vijay Singh (2000), Fred Couples (1992) and Bernhard Langer (1985, 1993) making the cut as well.
So many others who started the third round with a chance didn’t do almost enough to stay even remotely close to Reed. He totally fell apart after that, playing the last nine holes at 7 over to finish with an 80.
This time it’s for a green jacket, not a gold Ryder Cup trophy. And I gave it a little bit more gas on it and made sure that I was long if I did miss and I hit a good one in there.
He was at 9-under 135. Instead of laying up from 210 yards, he closed with the face of a 5-iron, aimed toward the right bunker. I told myself today not to look at leadeboards. On 15, he chipped in for the second eagle.
“We’re not here to lay up”, Leishman said. “I had a chance on 17, too, but it wasn’t to be”.
“Yeah, I hit the trunk on the down swing and just whiffed it”, Mickelson said. “And it came off”.
Reed and Leishman will be the final pairing Saturday, scheduled to tee off at 2:30 p.m.
Henrik Stenson remains among the contender spots as he tends to do at major championships, now third on five-under par, while Rory McIlroy follows him by one stroke in joint-fourth with Jordan Spieth.