AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fiery, assertive and superstitious, Patrick Reed has been building to this Masters impulse his whole life. His representation is locked. His putting cadence is pure. He’s even saying a turn improved interjection to new strike lenses. His longtime manager says he loves operative with a 27-year-old Texan given “he never pumps a brakes.”
On Saturday afternoon, with Rory McIlroy banishment darts in a organisation in front of him during rain-softened Augusta National, Reed strike a gas. On Sunday they’ll accommodate head-to-head in a replay of one of history’s many fantastic Ryder Cup matches.
Reed posted a five-under 67 that enclosed blast eagles on any of a behind nine’s dual standard 5s. He’s 14-under by 54 holes, good for a three-shot corner on McIlroy. Before this week, Reed’s biggest golf moments have come in general organisation competitions, quite that epic Sunday during Hazeltine in 2016, when he clipped McIlroy 1 adult in a head-to-head singles compare that featured a fusillade of birdies, primal screams and over-the-top histrionics.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Reed pronounced after his turn on Saturday. “Obviously we’re both personification unequivocally plain golf, and to be means to go into a final turn on Sunday during a initial major, to go adult opposite any other and go out and play some good golf, it’s going to be a lot of fun to go out there.”
Patrick Reed didn’t delayed down on Saturday during Augusta National, and he’s 18 plain holes divided from winning a Masters.
Fun? Yes, it should be fun. And if tomorrow’s showdown bears any similarity to their Ryder Cup hate match, it could be positively bananas. When McIlroy birdied 18 here Saturday –after his tee shot caromed off a hunger and behind into a fairway–it capped a 7-under 65 that he punctuated with a Ryder Cup-esque scream that could offer as a preface to Sunday. McIlroy has his bequest on a line: he’ll follow his fifth major, his initial immature jacket, and his possibility to turn a sixth actor in story to finish a career grand slam.
“I rode my fitness a small bit out there today. Hopefully we don’t have to rest on it too most tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “But yeah, only a good day. To get myself into a final group, we know, and have a possibility to win another major, I’m excited. You couldn’t ask for most some-more out of today.”
Sunday he’ll have to run down Reed, who has summoned a same sorcery that has tangible his prevalence in organisation events. On a behind 9 on Saturday, Reed reached a iconic par-5 13th in dual and buried a 14-footer for eagle. On 15, after his proceed stranded on a rain-soaked bank versus a green, he pitched in for nonetheless another eagle and capped it with a fist siphon and a scream that Ryder Cup fans know well.
McIlroy rang adult 5 birdies on a front 9 and zero were garden variety. A span of 20-foot putts on 3 and 4. A tee shot on 6 that staid dual feet from a crater and sent a weekend’s initial Certifiable Augusta Roar ripping by a pines. On 8 he holed out a representation shot for eagle, producing Certifiable Augusta Roar No. 2.
On 13, McIlroy went for a standard 5 in dual and sent his shot into a bed of azaleas distant left of a green. With flowers blossoming around his waist, Rors skilfully punched a turn behind down to a border and saved par.
“It was a sea of pink. we was propitious only to see a ball, and we had a stance,” McIlroy said. “You know, azaleas are indeed flattering skinny down below. we could take a position and only arrange of collect a bar true adult and get it behind down on tip of it and only wheel it out by a hunger straw and behind on to a grass.” He afterwards combined a birdie during 15 and canned a 17-footer for that overwhelming finish on 18.
Rory McIlroy prepares to play a shot out of a flowers on a 13th hole during a third turn of a 2018 Masters.
But only as he did in their Ryder Cup clash, Reed matched McIlroy shot-for-shot. When McIlroy eagled 8, he pulled into a tie for a lead. Reed soon poured in a 9-foot birdie on 8, afterwards mixed a 25-footer on 9 and carried a movement to a behind nine.
“One thing we admire about him is his assertive style. He’s an bomb player,” pronounced Kevin Kirk, Reed’s manager given 2011. “He’s been trending a right instruction for a while now. As a coach, we try to drive him toward peaking during a right time. we feel like we’ve got it right.”
This week Reed is regulating a some-more minute hole-by-hole diversion devise he grown with Kirk after alighting in Augusta final week. As for those new contacts: they date behind to a impulse in Feb when Reed was lounging in his Palm Springs hotel room with his wife, Justine, during a CareerBuilder Challenge. Justine was channel-surfing by a beam menu from opposite a room when Reed perked up.
“He looked during me and said, ‘You can review that?'” Justine pronounced Saturday along a fairway ropes. “Now he has his lenses, and he’s removing used to them. It takes him about 10 mins to put them in each morning, though it creates a difference.”
This is a initial eventuality Reed has ever played wearing contacts and notwithstanding a intrusion to his morning routine, a boon so distant seems value it.
Here’s one Reed superstition: during night a integrate plays Mario Kart, a iconic Nintendo game. (Reed’s impression is customarily Toad, given he’s a fastest in a corners.) With Reed and McIlroy both clicking, Sunday could underline even some-more video game-type shots.
If somehow things go laterally for Reed and Rors, Jon Rahm (-8, 6 back) and Rickie Fowler (-9) matched McIlroy with 65s of their possess on Saturday and will play in a penultimate pairing.
“There’s a lot some-more players in this golf contest than only Patrick Reed and I,” McIlroy said. “I know guys can get off to prohibited starts on a Sunday here, and we get a bit of movement and do something.”
But make no mistake, this Masters should be won and mislaid in a final group. Last year Reed wore his red, white and blue rigging during several events. This week he’s in some-more normal garb, though when a skies non-stop adult he unsheathed a Ryder Cup organisation umbrella. On Sunday, Ryder Cup vibes wouldn’t be such a bad thing. If he continues to raise adult birdies, Reed could make story on his approach to Augusta’s iconic immature threads.
Among a annals now in play: a all-time scoring record (18 under, common by Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods) and a possibility to turn a initial actor in Masters story to fire 4 rounds in a 60s. Despite his possess run during a ancestral career slam, McIlroy thinks a feverishness is precisely on his opponent.
“I feel like all a vigour is on him. He’s got to go out and strengthen that, and he’s got a few guys chasing him that are flattering big‑time players. He’s got that to understanding with and nap on tonight,” McIlroy said. “I feel like we can go out there and play like I’ve got zero to lose.”
The duel could go possibly way, though one thing is positively certain: conjunction Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson will cause in Sunday’s drama. Teeing off 4 hours before a leaders, Mickelson shot a 74 that enclosed an annoying sniff from underneath a trees on a opening hole. Woods sputtered along to an even-par 72.
But if Reed-McIlroy II is even half as constrained as their Ryder Cup strife it will be a Sunday to remember. So, when your less-golf-inclined friends ask we Sunday morning if Tiger’s going to win today, don’t chop words. Just contend no.
Then tell them to tack themselves to a couch. The biggest head-to-head duel in complicated golf story is primed for a sequel.