Patrick Reed strengthens hold on Augusta Masters, leads Rory McIlroy by three

ASSOCIATED PRESS           Patrick Reed reacted to his birdie on the 12th hole during today’s fourth round at the Masters

ASSOCIATED PRESS Patrick Reed reacted to his birdie on the 12th hole during today’s fourth round at the Masters

He bogeyed the last in a 6-under 66 for a 6-under total of 210.

Tiger Woods was the reason this has been the most anticipated Masters in years.

"Having to shoot under par in the final round to win my first major, it was awesome", Reed said.

Gary Player owns the most starts in Masters history (52). "And now to be able to play this golf course and to be able to tee it up and play in the Masters, this is one of the greatest walks in all of golf".

The board is packed with major champions like Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson.

Woods and Mickelson probably don't. He settled down when he canned a 15-footer for birdie on the third hole and added another red number at the seventh when he stuffed his second shot from 133 yards to a foot for another birdie.

On a day when the sky was leaden grey and the forecast was for thunderstorms, it was the shining light provided by the golfers of the 2018 US Masters that will be most remembered on an incredible Saturday at Augusta National.

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"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. That's the new goal, but the original goal - the only goal - was to win in his first trip at Augusta National since 2015.

It could end up being the shot of the day. In short, he was decent enough to make the cut by a stroke, but too ragged to do anything more.

Patrick Reed hits a drive on the third hole during the third round at the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Augusta, Ga. His best performance on the big stage has been in the Ryder Cup. "I'm not taking advantage of the par 5s and consequently a good round is even par", Woods said.

He was at 9-under 135.

McIlroy, too, was playing with rare flair and confidence - until he got to Amen Corner, where he left a birdie putt up at the 11th and had to play out of the bunker at the 12th.

"I can't imagine there's going to be much chat out there tomorrow", McIlroy said. He struck the ball well but had difficulty finding the correct line on the greens.

"We're not here to lay up", Leishman said.

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"I've been waiting for this chance, to be honest. To finally get the opportunity again to see if I can put all those wrongs right is something I'm looking forward to". "And it came off". No one has ever shot all four rounds at the Masters in the 60s. And he got into the final group, an ideal position as he goes after the final leg of the career Grand Slam.

Woods on Saturday finally did shoot a round that wasn't over par, an even 72, but that left him at 73-75-72 - 220, four over for 54 holes, a figurative million miles off the lead. 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. "Now I know I'm on the weekend". "And missed the putt, but, hey, it's a lot easier to play the hole from the green than it is dropping".

Eleven of the 17 players still under par at the halfway point can be found among the top 20 in the world.

McIlroy was about 20 yards right of the green with his second shot and delivered a almost ideal chip that bounced a few feet short of the green and starting tracking toward the pin. Just like that he was behind, and it kept getting worse.

"Played the par-5s terrible", Woods said.

Tony Finau, who nearly missed the tournament after dislocating his ankle Wednesday at the par-3 contest while celebrating a hole-in-one, rattled off six straight birdies Sunday to shoot a final round 6-under 66 and finish t-10 at 7 under.

How to watch the conclusion of the annual golf tournament in Augusta on Sunday.

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23 countries represented, including 40 players from the United States, nine from England and five from South Africa.

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