Leader Reed Holding Off Charging McIlroy At Masters

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"There's a lot of stuff that you can do at Ryder Cup that you can't do at Augusta National".

Patrick Reed and his par-5 prowess versus Rory McIlroy and his penchant for clutch shots.

The poor round left Woods, competing in his first major since 2015, just one shot above the cut-line but a distant 13 shots back of world number 24 Reed, who is hoping to pen a comeback of his own after missing the cut past year. Par: 72. Yards: 7,435.

McIlroy outscored Reed by two strokes each day when playing alongside Reed on the first two days of the 2014 Masters, but the biggest memory of them as rivals was from the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, when USA firebrand Reed edged Europe's McIlroy 1 up in an epic clash.

Now, it's about stroke play, and with golf's first major of 2018 on the line. "It's definitely not a two-horse race at this point". I feel like I'm driving it better than I have all year, but I am not capitalizing on it.

"I can't imagine there's going to be much chat out there tomorrow", McIlroy said.

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

After an unlikely par at the fifth, where his shot from the fairway bunker caught the lip but kept travelling, he tapped in for birdie at the sixth before holing his sand wedge for eagle at the eighth.

Reed's approach at the par-5 13th clung to a bank above Rae's Creek, his title bid nestled with it, but he escaped with par to stay deadlocked with Spieth for the lead at 14-under. He cooled until the end of his round, when a pair of birdies over the last two holes gave him a 65 and left him five shots behind.

"I rode my luck a little bit out there" Saturday. "I've been in this kind of position before", Reed said. Rory McIlroy (71) is off to his best 36-hole start in seven years and is looking as poised as ever to capture the fourth leg of the career Grand Slam.

Several of golf's newer stars look like they'll be battling it out for the green jacket on Sunday, though. "He's got a few guys chasing him who are pretty big time players". Spieth lost his two-shot lead on the first hole and was on the verge of getting left behind until he made a key par putt to close out the front nine with a 40, and then salvaged a 74 to join McIlroy just five shots behind. "He's got that to deal with and sleep on tonight".

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Patrick Reed reacts to his eagle on the 13th hole during the third round at the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Augusta, Ga.

But it's also nice to be playing with the lead. A birdie at the par-3 13th began to heat things up on the back nine.

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

"I feel like all the pressure is on him".

"I am leading. I mean, I guess so", he said of the pressure. "At the same time, he's going for the career Grand Slam".

They've still got a lot of work to do. He trails leader Patrick Reed by five strokes heading into the third round. Still without a major title, Fowler now has two top-5 finishes at Augusta National. At age 42, the four-time Masters victor revived "Tigermania" with two top-five PGA tuneup finishes after years of injury struggles, but has been humbled so far at formidable Augusta National.

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

Largest comeback victory at Masters is eight shots (Jack Burke, 1956). Spieth's slide is a reminder to not overreact to the first day.

The board is packed with major champions like Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson. "I'm hoping to spoil the party".

Four-time victor Tiger Woods turned in his best round of the week, but he was merely an afterthought after shooting a 72 that left him 18 shots behind Reed.

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