Woods laughs off Masters struggles while Mickelson fumes

Esther Moore
April 10, 2018

The 23-year-old Englishman shot a 5-under 67 in the third round Saturday at Augusta National, getting to even-par 216 for the tournament.

Famed for his unflinching play on US Ryder Cup match play teams, 27-year-old Reed threatened to make it a runaway with his eagles at 13 and 15, swelling his lead to as many as five shots.

Now, it's about stroke play, and with golf's first major of 2018 on the line. "It's not matchplay. There are a lot of guys on the leaderboard".

They stood on their toes - some of them hopped in place - to try to see over all the heads lining the 13th fairway to check if his shot cleared the tributary in front of the green. "I don't really care what people say on Twitter or what they say, if they're cheering for me or not", Reed said.

McIlroy should hope he hasn't used up all his luck.

A chip that likely would have gone off the green at the par-5 eighth banged into the pin and dropped for eagle. He also feared for the worst when his second shot on the par-5 13th went into a sea of pink azaleas, and he wasn't sure he couldn't find the ball. It left him a two-foot tap-in for birdie.

Of course anyone who wants to win around here needs a little good luck somewhere along the way.

"It was breaking so hard to the left, I couldnt tell if it was going to go in or if it was just going to burn edges", Reed said.

"At the same time, he's trying to go for the career Grand Slam". With Woods knowledge of the course and workable greens this Sunday Woods stepped up and made a clean steady stroke.

Woods plans to take some time off in April, maybe even putting the clubs in the closet for a few weeks to "kind of get away for a while".

Reed, ranked 24th in the world and chasing a first major title, came into the day with a two-stroke lead and was unbowed in the face of four-time major victor McIlroy's surge. "It's fantastic that when you go through something like this, you don't sleep for two days, [that] you get a lot more emotional. I'm not getting up there and not taking advantage of the par-5s, and consequently, a good round is even par".

The thought that Woods actually could win at Augusta National started the week of the Honda Classic, where he finished T-12 and led the field in average proximity to the hole.

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Reed ran off three straight birdies around the turn and stretched his lead with two eagleson the back nine.

Keeping the lead won't be easy for Reed, not on this stage.

"I feel like all the pressure's on him", said four-time major victor McIlroy. He said he knows what the problem is with the irons but hasn't been able to fix it on the fly, and that there weren't any signs of trouble leading up to the week. "At the same time, he's going for the career Grand Slam".

McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm each shot 65 to get within striking distance of Reed.

They've still got a lot of work to do.

Brooks Koepka will defend his US Open crown in June, with Spieth holding the British Open title while world number two Justin Thomas is the USPGA champion. "To get myself into the final group, and have a chance to win another major. you couldn't ask for much more out of today".

Woods is just grateful to be given the chance to compete, given his debilitating back problem for which he needed spinal fusion surgery.

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. Jack Burke Jr. did it in 1956.

Spieth led by two shots after the first round; he shot a 6-under 66.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson and 2017 PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas were on 141.

"I get to go out for one of my only stress-free rounds that I've ever really played at Augusta National", Spieth said.

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