Reed builds 3-shot lead over McIlroy at Masters

Reed builds 3-shot lead over McIlroy at Masters

Former world number one Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Masters champion, began the third round level with McIlroy at four under but dropped two shots on the front nine, before birdies at inward par fives took him to five under, alongside close friend Thomas, the PGA champion, who had three birdies in a 70.

A dramatic "moving day" saw Reed finish 14 under for the tournament, three strokes ahead of nearest challenger McIlroy.

McIlroy - chasing the career Grand Slam - added a 1-under 71 to his 69 opener to sit 4 under.

Caddie: You're trying to put yourself in position. "I'm leading, there is pressure, but I felt fine this morning". "I feel like all the pressure is on Patrick on Sunday". Just came out and tried to play some golf. "I need to stick to my game plan".

Reed and McIlroy are linked so indelibly to that singles match at Hazeltine in 2016 when they produced the highest quality of golf amid ear-splitting cheers, making big putts on top of the other.

However, since 2010, South African Charl Schwartzel is the only man outside the world's top 20 to claim the coveted Green Jacket.

Well, it's nearly Sunday at the Masters.

"It won't be quite as intense as that Ryder Cup match, I don't think", McIlroy said, alluding to the partisan and at times rude nature of cheers rarely found at Augusta National. It's not Europe versus America.

While 2015 victor Jordan Spieth came back to the pack, plenty who want to join him at the Champions Dinner, like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler, made their moves. "He's got a lot of support here, and I'm hoping to come in and spoil the party". "I feel like I can go out there and play like I've got nothing to lose".

When you watch Woods play golf these day, it's hard to resist the temptation to obsessively study his body language, wondering if you just caught a glimpse of a wince or a grimace. His best performance on the big stage has been in the Ryder Cup.

Reed played at Augusta State, which won two NCAA championships.

Then on 15, after another good drive in the fairway, he took a torturously long look at the table green, trying to calculate how much the wind was going to affect his second shot.

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Asked about what kind of atmosphere there might be tomorrow, Reed smiled: "It'll be a calmer".

But he shrugged off any other comparisons, starting with the decorum outside the ropes at Augusta National compared with a flag-waving crowd at the Ryder Cup. You're talking about polar opposites.

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.

"It's going to be electrifying".

Even without them, the show is just getting started.

Collins: What's the vibe like Saturday on the golf course? There was McIlroy on the 13th fairway, a majestic tee shot setting him up well on a par-5 hole so friendly to birdies the club recently purchased an entire hole at the adjacent Augusta Country Club so it could move the tee box back, eyeing the green and another chance to gain ground.

"It was a sea of pink", he said. I just couldn't do it.

You know what makes golf fun? They look pretty thick on top, but down below they are actually not too bad. "I've always said that 2011 was a huge turning point in my career".

"I do not know it", said the patron from Texas with a laugh.

So many others who started the third round with a chance didn't do almost enough to stay even remotely close to Reed.

"Apparently my iron play", said Fleetwood, whose proximity to the hole with his approach shots Saturday improved by 16 feet from the previous round.

While it hasn't shown this week, the Masters will likely be Woods' best shot at winning another major championship, something he hasn't done since hobbling to a playoff victory at the 2008 U.S. Open.

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