AUGUSTA, Ga. — Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy spent much of Saturday evening trying to convince the masses assembled at Augusta National Golf Club that the final round of the Masters isn’t simply a match between the two 20-something stars.
But what if it is?
Reed, the 27-year-old hero of the latest American Ryder Cup team, used two back-nine eagles to build a scorching 67 in Saturday’s third round, getting him to 14 under par. That’s enough for a three-shot lead over McIlroy, the 28-year-old Northern Irishman who already owns four major championships — but not yet a Masters.
There are other attractive names on the leaderboard — American Rickie Fowler, Spanish up-and-comer Jon Rahm, Swedish machine Henrik Stenson, two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth. But none of those characters are better than five shots back of Reed’s lead.
That leaves the final round with the distinct feeling that it’ll be a redux of the emotional and insane singles match between Reed and McIlroy at the 2016 Ryder Cup.
“It will be calmer,” Reed said. “There’s a lot of stuff you can do at a Ryder Cup that you can’t do at Augusta National.”
Which is not to say it will be calm. The Masters normally reaches its highest gear after the leaders make the turn on Sunday. By that point, we’ll know whether Fowler (9 under), Rahm (8 under), Stenson (7 under) or any of the others have provided enough to push the final pairing.
If not, it’s Reed, who is seeking his first major, vs. McIlroy, who is seeking to become just the sixth player to win the career Grand Slam. Let’s go.
The final round of the 82nd Masters appears to be set up as a match-play duel in the final pairing of Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. The 27-year-old from Texas and the 28-year-old from Northern Ireland memorably battled in a singles match at the 2016 Ryder Cup (won by Reed), but both were adamant that Sunday’s round won’t be just a two-man event.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the contenders on the leaderboard with 18 holes to play.
1. Patrick Reed (-14)
Saturday score: 67
Saturday highlight: Chip-in for eagle at the par-5 15th
Best Masters finish: Tied for 22nd (2015)
Best major championship finish: Tied for second (2017 PGA Championship)
Sunday outlook: Reed has played steely golf here over the first three rounds, putting behind a Masters history in which he had never broken 70, had twice missed the cut in four events and was, cumulatively, 27 over par in 12 career rounds. But he also has never been in such a position — leading a major headed into the final 18 holes. He seems unflustered by it all. “Just got to go out and play good golf,” is his mantra — bland but true. But there’s something about the position he’s in that can be difficult on which to sleep, and the others around him know that.
Quote: “I think the biggest thing is just going out and playing golf. You know, trying to not allow the moment to take over me.”
2. Rory McIlroy (-11)
Saturday score: 65
Saturday highlight: Chip-in for eagle at the par-5 8th
Best Masters finish: Fourth (2015)
Best major championship finish: First (Four times)
Sunday outlook: McIlroy has awaited this opportunity ever since 2011, when he opened with rounds of 65, 69 and 70 and confidently led by four heading into Sunday. From there, disaster: a wayward drive off the 10th tee, an utter collapse around the corner, and a dejected manner on the 13th tee. He shot 80. He recovered from that misery to win his next major start, the U.S. Open at Congressional that June. Should he win on Sunday he will join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen as the only players to win the career grand slam in the modern era.
Quote: “I’ve been waiting for this chance, to be honest. I always have said that 2011 was a huge turning point in my career. It was the day that I realized I wasn’t ready to win major championships, and I needed to reflect on that and realize what I needed to do differently. But now I am ready.”
3. Rickie Fowler (-9)
Saturday score: 65
Saturday highlight: 25-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 second
Best Masters finish: Tied for fifth (2014)
Best major championship finish: Tied for second (2014 U.S. and British Opens)
Sunday outlook: Fowler’s game would dictate that he can win majors — and yet, it simply hasn’t happened. He ran off four straight top-five finishes in the majors in 2014, but he has largely disappointed since. Last year, he shared the Masters lead after 36 holes and was only a shot behind Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose entering the final round — and responded with a 76 that included a miserable back nine. Sunday will provide just the latest test of how Fowler’s game, and his nerve, holds up under the highest level of scrutiny.
Quote: “Obviously, it’s been everyone’s dream to win the Masters. Growing up, to be able to have that chance to walk up 18 with a chance to win — or maybe you have it closed out and that’s your walk to victory.”
4. Jon Rahm (-8)
Saturday score: 65
Saturday highlight: Chip-in for eagle at the par-5 8th
Best Masters finish: Tied for 27th (2017)
Best major championship finish: Tied for 23rd (2016 U.S. Open)
Sunday outlook: Rahm is just 23 and has a scant record at majors; this is just his seventh attempt. But he is also the third-ranked player in the world who has two victories on the PGA Tour and two more on the European Tour. He has all the shots, and his bogey-free round on Saturday showed he had the nerve, too. The Spaniard has never been in such a position at a major championship, but this is precisely the kind of seasoning he’ll need for the opportunities that lie ahead of him.
Quote: “If you can get a really good start on that front nine and post a good score again, that back nine can be extremely long for the leaders. We know what can happen on that back nine on Sunday. It’s happened many times where a big lead disappears or even gets cut down.”
5. Henrik Stenson (-7)
Saturday score: 70
Saturday highlight: Chip-in for birdie from in front of the green at 7
Best Masters finish: Tied for 14th (2014)
Best major championship finish: First (2016 British Open)
Sunday outlook: For a player of such accomplishment — perhaps the best ball-striker in the world — Stenson’s record at the Masters is incredibly spotty. In 12 previous Masters, he has never finished in the top 10, has missed the cut four times (including last year), has a scoring average of almost a stroke-and-a-half over par and had broken 70 just three times in 40 rounds. This week, though, he has played Stenson golf: steady, with a 69 followed by two 70s. He made an odd slip-up with a bogey at the par-5 second on Saturday. Given his position seven shots back of the lead, he won’t be able to afford such mistakes Sunday.
Quote: “I feel like I’m going to go out and try and finish with a solid round tomorrow, hopefully. I think I’m a bit too far back.”
Given Stenson’s sentiment, we’ll cut the contenders’ list down to the five above, even as some interesting names remain in the final few groups. Two-time champion Bubba Watson joins Australian Marc Leishman and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood at 6 under. Jordan Spieth, who boasts the 2015 Masters among his three majors, sits at 5 under with 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas.
But it’s worth remembering that the largest comeback in Masters history came in 1956, when Jackie Burke Jr. began the final 18 eight shots back of Ken Venturi, who collapsed with an 80. Reed, it seems, would have to do some backing up to bring others into play.
Final round tee times (all times Eastern):
10 a.m. Vijay Singh
10:10 a.m. Brian Harman, Ian Poulter
10:20 a.m. Phil Mickelson, Chez Reavie
10:30 a.m. Doug Ghim (a), Tyrrell Hatton
10:40 a.m. Martin Kaymer, Kyle Stanley
10:50 a.m. Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Xander Schauffele
11 a.m. Bryson DeChambeau, Branden Grace
11:10 a.m. Rafa Cabrera Bello, Tiger Woods
11:20 a.m. Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer
11:40 a.m. Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson
11:50 a.m. Ryan Moore, Jhonattan Vegas
12 p.m. Daniel Berger, Adam Scott
12:10 p.m. Paul Casey, Haotong Li
12:20 p.m. Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama
12:30 p.m. Russell Henley, Satoshi Kodaira
12:40 p.m. Kevin Kisner, Francesco Molinari
12:50 p.m. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Si Woo Kim
1 p.m. Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman
1:20 p.m. Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker
1:30 p.m. Jason Day, Bernd Wiesberger
1:40 p.m. Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose
1:50 p.m. Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith
2 p.m. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas
2:10 p.m. Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson
2:20 p.m. Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson
2:30 p.m. Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm
2:40 p.m. Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy
How to watch (all times Eastern):
- CBS will broadcast the final round from 2 to 7 p.m. (or the conclusion of play) Sunday. Its online coverage can be found at CBS AllAccess. The network will have a preview show (“On the Range”) 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday on CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com.
- CBSSports.com will also have live streams of featured groups, as well as coverage from Amen Corner (holes 11, 12, 13) and holes 15 and 16. Featured group coverage starts at roughly 11 a.m. Sunday; Amen Corner coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. and holes 15 and 16 coverage begins at 1:30. Consult the full live stream schedule here.
- The Golf Channel has “Morning Drive” on TV and online from 7 to 9 a.m. Sunday, and “Live from the Masters” on TV and online beginning at 9 a.m.
- AT&T/DIRECTV has coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th holes starting at 3 p.m. each day (at 2 p.m. Sunday) on Channels 703, 704 and 705. There’s a 4K package from Amen Corner on Channel 105 and the 15th and 16th holes on Channel 106 starting at noon Sunday for Amen Corner and 12:30 for the 15th and 16th holes. You also can stream the coverage.
- Masters.com offers much of the same live coverage, too.
Weather and pin placement
The skies will clear a bit for the final round, though it will be cool with highs in the mid-60s. Temperatures were in the 40s early Sunday morning.
The Post’s Neil Greenberg gives Reed a 77 percent chance of winning.
More Masters coverage from The Post:
Source link : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2018/04/08/masters-2018-live-updates-round-4-patrick-reed-has-rory-mcilroy-hot-on-his-heels/
Publish date : 2018-04-08 14:47:44