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By : BGA Pro Shop
FORGIVING CONDITIONS PRODUCE GREAT GOLF ON MOVING DAY
The hype of this year’s Masters was living up to its expectations on day three. With a stacked leader board, it was polarising figure Patrick Reed and Aussie Marc Leishman leading from the front and in the final pairing.
Whilst the lead pair found it hard to make scores early, Rory, Rickie, and Rahm moved their names up the leader board as they got hot with their short game.
Starting -2 on the day, Rickie Fowler made an eagle on the second hole and then a further birdie on the fifth had him -4 through the first five holes. He then went on the birdie six and eight to finish with a -5, 31 on the front nine.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy who started the day at -4, was warming up. Rory birdied three, four and almost made a hole in one on six to move to -3 through his first six and get within two of the lead. Just two holes later, Rory looked in trouble as he cut a fairway to the bottom right side of the green. With the pin tucked tight to the right side of the green, it looked like Rory would be scrambling for par. Instead, his chip shot rocketed onto the green, smacked dead centre of the flag pole and went it for eagle and a share of the lead.
Spanish star and world number three John Rahm started with birdie, birdie and was looking hot after a late move on Friday. He settled with five straight pars on his next holes until a chip in eagle on the eighth took him to -4 through his front nine holes. Unlike Rory, Rahm’s chip in was measured precision as he flopped it up on the eighth green and watch the ball bounce three times, check and roll straight into the middle of the cup. Rahm would go on to make a further three birdies on a bogey free round -7, 65 to move to -8 overall.
Young up and comer Tommy Fleetwood from England found a five hole package of highlights as he went on to make five consecutive birdies and it was very nearly six. From holes twelve through to sixteen, Fleetwood was flawless as he took advantage of the softer Augusta Saturday. Unfortunately, Fleetwood would miss an easy par putt on eighteen and settled with a bogey and round of -6, 66.
Not to be outdone, feisty American Patrick Reed found his form. He bogeyed the third hole but got that shot back soon after with a birdie on the par four fifth. Just when it looked like he would see his lead overtaken by the fast movers climbing up the board, Reed birdied the eighth, ninth and tenth as he put his short game on display. Whilst he had trouble with both par threes on the back nine (bogeys on both twelve and sixteen), it was his pair of eagles in between that would erupt the crowds of Augusta.
After another drive down the middle of the fairway, Reed took full advantage as he hit a long iron to within fourteen feet over the water on the thirteenth. With a fast breaking downhill putt, Reed did what many struggled to do and sank it with perfect line and length for Eagle.
Riding some luck, Reed was a way back on fourteen after hitting the pine on the left side and dropping short. Snapping a big draw around the trees and from over 200 yards out, Reed found the green but would have a monster two put to escape with a par. Reed did just that a rode that luck all the way to fifteen.
As the rain settled in and softened Augusta’s cruel relenting punishment, it also made for shorter drives and a lack of roll down the fairways. With Reed not known to be one of the longest on tour, he found himself a fair way back but still in a great position on fifteen to attack the green. But it wasn’t a great shot and lucky for him, rains had made for soft landing areas. If not for that, Reed was sure to have had his second shot bounce back into the water and scrambling to make par.
Instead, Reed was able to flop a chip shot over the bunker and with precision, breaking right to left it rolled in for another eagle giving him two eagles in 3 holes and -4 through a three hole stretch.
Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy would steady through the start of their back nine whilst the pandemonium from Reed erupted noise in the background as he pulled up to six shots away. Both took advantage of the par five fifteenth walking away with birdies. Rickie went on to make a further birdie after a beautiful approach on seventeen but just fell short of a birdie and round of 64 on eighteen and instead settled for a round of -7, 65.
Rory made a good up and down par save on sixteen and then erupted Augusta again as he made a birdie on eighteen to move to within three of the lead and also finished with a round of 65.
After making a bogey at sixteen, Patrick Reed found himself scrambling on seventeen. His drive feel short and right onto the pine straw. His second shot flyer then went over the back of the green, but like he had done many times this week, Reeds short game once again saved him for par and he would have heard the screams from eighteen telling him Rory had just made birdie. Had Reed not made par, Rory would be within two shots.
As he stood on the eighteenth fairway, Reed again settled himself as he watched his playing partner Marc Leishman deep in the pine straw and near a fence after a horrible drive off the tee. Somehow, Leishman was able to bail himself out getting his second shot to finish just short of the green. It could have been a significantly different day for Leishman with at least five putts just rolling on the edge of the hole and others falling just short. Instead he wasn’t able to make anything happen which must have been frustrated as he watched Reed make scores from worse positions. Leishman would have to settle for all pars and one bogey and a round of 73 to finish on -6 and tied for sixth after day three.
Reed meanwhile, punched his iron into the turf with his faithful draw and gave himself another great look at birdie on eighteen and to potentially get back to -15. Expecting it to drop as we have seen him do so much, the putt would break slightly right as his Titleist ball rolled just over the edge of the cup. A phenomenal day none the less, Reed would finish with his third consecutive round in the sixties with a -5, 67.
No player has ever played all four rounds in the sixties at Augusta. Could Reed be the first to do so as an exciting day and finish to a much anticipated Masters comes to its final day.
TOP TEN LEADER BOARD AFTER DAY THREE
-14 Patrick Reed
-11 Rory McIlroy
-9 Rickie Fowler
-8 John Rahm
-7 Henrik Stenson
-6 Tommy Fleetwood
-6 Marc Leishman
-6 Bubba Watson
-5 Jordan Spieth
-5 Justin Thomas
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