Rory McIlroy stands on the brink of golfing history as The Masters enters its final round on Sunday. The Holywood, Co. Down, native finds himself just three shots behind third round leader Patrick Reed of the USA, and with an historic golfing Grand Slam within his grasp.
McIlroy and Reed will reprise one of the most epic battles in Ryder Cup history when they lock horns in the final group of today’s 2018 Masters Tournament, with the American chasing a maiden Major title and McIlroy bidding to become the first Irishman to win a Green Jacket.
The first Major of the season was billed as one of the most eagerly anticipated in many years and the event is certainly living up to the hype, especially on an enthralling moving day on Saturday which saw Reed, McIlroy, American Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm of Spain and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood all shoot in the mid-60s.
Nine of the top 12 players in the Official World Golf Ranking were within the top 15 of the leaderboard after round three, but it was the World Number 24 Reed who stole the show with four birdies and two eagles helping him to a five under 67 and a 14 under total.
Five shots clear of the field after an eagle at the 15th, Reed suffered a bogey on the 16th hole soon after McIlroy had closed with a birdie to finish off a stunning third round 65, meaning it was just a three-stroke difference heading into the final day.
Fowler is five shots off Reed’s lead in third place on nine under par, while Rahm is one further back on eight under – both having signed for 67s.
Having completed his third round at Augusta National on Saturday, Rory McIlroy said:
“It was a great day. I’m closer to the lead than I was starting off the day, which a bonus, especially when you see Patrick go out and shoot 67 and obviously play very well. I rode my luck a little bit out there – the chip‑in on the eighth hole, finding my ball in the azaleas on 13, not the first time. Then hitting the tree on 18 and coming back in the fairway and making a birdie from that.”
Looking ahead to his final round, the Irish golfer commented:
“I rode my luck a little bit out there today (Saturday). Hopefully I don’t have to rely on it too much tomorrow, but it was just a great day. To get myself into the final group, and have a chance to win another major, I’m excited. You couldn’t ask for much more out of today.”
Leading scores after round three of The Masters:
202 P Reed (USA) 69 66 67.
205 R McIlroy 69 71 65.
207 R Fowler (USA) 70 72 65.
208 J Rahm (ESP) 75 68 65.
209 H Stenson (SWE) 69 70 70.
210 B Watson (USA) 73 69 68, T Fleetwood (ENG) 72 72 66, M Leishman (AUS) 70 67 73.
211 J Spieth (USA) 66 74 71, J Thomas (USA) 74 67 70.
212 D Johnson (USA) 73 68 71.