Apr 8th, 2018
Moving day at the 2018 Masters: the wrap
Reed Magnificently Belligerent as McIlroy Loiters With Intent
Words: James King
Wow. Just wow. What a day of golf.
The forecast suggested that Augusta might be battered by storms today, but in reality it was an assembly of world class players who took this course to task. With Augusta’s oleaginous defences somewhat neutered by the moisture, a select band of extraordinary talents took full advantage.
With Messrs McIlroy, Fowler and Rahm shooting 65’s, Tommy Fleetwood shooting a 66 and an ominously confident Patrick Reed carding a wonderful 67 and leading the field into the final round by three shots, let’s take a look at the key talking points from today’s action.
Rahm and Fowler Set the Bar at 65:
It’s easy to forget that just over a year ago, Jon Rahm was ranked number 137 in the world. In the 15 months since, the Spaniard has swiftly established himself as perhaps the hot young property in world golf, and came into this year’s tournament ranked number 3 in the world. Which makes it even more extraordinary that, with all the attention focused on Tiger’s comeback and the reemergence of past winners like McIlroy and Watson, not many people have been touting this wunderkind for the win.
A thrilling 65 means that his is firmly back in the conversation, although sitting 6 shots behind the leader at -8 means that both a superb showing and a confluence of errors by rivals will be required to claim his first Major.
Rickie Fowler also shot the same score in equally thrilling fashion, and sits one closer to Reed at -9. Similarly, he will need to rely on both his own skill and the errors of others to claim a first Major victory.
Reed in the Drivers Seat:
Patrick Reed put in a championship worthy performance today, leading from the front, swinging at a metronomic tempo and looking the consummate champion-elect.
A bogey 5 at the third did not bode well for the leader, but this was swiftly negated with a birdie on five. A run of three consecutive birdies at eight, nine and ten cemented his position at the top of the leaderboard, and a majestic second into the thirteenth resulted in eagle and was followed by a chip in eagle at fifteen.
He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is playing with real élan and has glided into the final round, sitting at -14.
Rory Looking to Rewrite History:
if there is one person who knows only too well that no lead going into the final round at Augusta is unassailable, it’s Rory.
In 2011, Rory entered the final round holding a sizeable four shot lead, only for everything to fall apart on the way to shooting an 80. It remains the closest he’s come to capturing the final jewel in the Grand Slam crown.
As such, who better to sit three behind Reed than a man who knows all to clearly what it means to throw such a lead away. A fabulous 65 from the man from Holyrood, including a par save from deep in the azaleas at 12 that highlighted a level of mental grit lacking back in 2011, means that Reed should be nervously looking over his shoulder as McIlroy attempts to become only the 6th man to complete the career Grand Slam.
Tomorrow has all the ingredients for an absolute classic. See you at Amen Corner!
Here' the complete Round 3 take-away;
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