Saturday, 07 April 2018
Patrick Reed  (Getty Images)
Patrick Reed (Getty Images)

Patrick Reed will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Masters Tournament but he will be playing alongside Rory McIlroy as the four-time Major Championship winner goes in search of the career grand slam.

Reed entered the day five shots clear of McIlroy but the Northern Irishman had caught him by the eighth before a hat-trick of birdies put the American three clear once again.

Eagles on the 13th and 15th had Reed five clear with three to play but he bogeyed the 16th and with McIlroy making a closing gain, the scene was set for a dramatic battle on Sunday.

The duo have previous after an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup which was won one up by Reed, and he will go in search of a first Major at Augusta National.

For McIlroy, a victory will see him join Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in an exclusive group of players to have won all four of golf's biggest events.

Rickie Fowler was five shots off the lead at nine under, one clear of Jon Rahm and two ahead of Henrik Stenson.

Reed's 67 means he is the only player to shoot three rounds in the 60s this week while McIlroy's 65 matches his best round at Augusta and was equalled on Saturday by Fowler and Rahm.

"It's going to be electrifying," said Reed. "The fans are going to be ready to go, they are going to be ready to cheer for whoever is making putts, whoever is making birdies or pulling off shots.

"It's just going to be one of those days you just need to go out and be able to put your nose to the grind and just play some golf."

It's going to be electrifying - Patrick Reed

McIlroy rolled home a 20-footer on the third and a 19-footer on the next to get to six under and when Reed saw his second at the third roll back off the green, the gap was cut to two as he failed to get up and down.

McIlroy hit a stunning tee-shot to tap-in range on the sixth but Reed responded in fantastic fashion, holing a 19-footer on the fifth to get back to nine under.

McIlroy then produced a moment of magic, finding a tough spot to the right of the eighth but bumping a chip into the bank and seeing his ball roll in for an eagle and a share of the lead.

Reed did not wilt, however, and he played the eighth in textbook fashion for a birdie before holing a 25-footer on the next to turn in 34.

An approach to ten feet extended his lead and he bogeyed the 12th before hitting a stunning second into the 13th for an eagle.

McIlroy played a brilliant up-and-down from the flower-beds on the 15th for a birdie but Reed chipped in on the same hole for another eagle and a five-shot lead.

A three-putt on the 16th dropped Reed to 14 under and after getting a fortunate bounce from the trees off the tee on the last, McIlroy holed from 17 feet for a closing birdie.

"I wish I was a little closer to the lead or leading, but I'm in the final group and I've shot 65 on moving day at the Masters. It's all I can ask for," said McIlroy.

"I'm really excited to show everyone what I've got, to show Patrick Reed what I've got and all the pressure is on him. He went to Augusta State and has a lot of support and I'm hoping to come in here and spoil the party.

"Patrick's got a three-shot lead, I feel like all the pressure's on him. He's got a few guys chasing him who are pretty big time players. He's got that to sleep on tonight."

I'm really excited to show everyone what I've got, to show Patrick Reed what I've got - Rory McIlroy

A hot putter helped Fowler to a bogey-free effort with an eagle on the second and birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth, 15th and 17th.

Rahm made a birdie-birdie start and chipped in for eagle on the eighth before making another gain on the tenth. The Spaniard saved par after going in the water on the 13th and added further birdies on the 16th and 17th.

Swede Stenson signed for a 70 as he recovered from a bogey on the second with a chip-in on the seventh and birdies on the eighth and 15th.

Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood made five birdies in a row from the 12th in a 66 to sit at six under alongside two-time champion Bubba Watson and Marc Leishman.

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were five under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1REED, PatrickUSA18-15
2FOWLER, RickieUSA18-14
3SPIETH, JordanUSA18-13
4RAHM, JonESP18-11
T5SMITH, CameronAUS18-9
T5WATSON, BubbaUSA18-9

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