He seized control with a pair of eagles on the back nine, two big pars and a 5-under 67 that gave him a three-shot lead over McIlroy as he goes for his first major in the city where he led undermanned Augusta State to two NCAA titles. He reeled off five straight birdies on the back nine, launching the run with a 24-foot birdie putt at the par-3 12th.
It sure feels like it.
McIlroy shot a 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday to match his lowest score at the Masters, pushing him within three shots of Reed and into the final pairing.
Woods had two birdies and an eagle on the back and looked like he would get to even par for the event.
Four-time Major victor Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, seeking a career Grand Slam with a triumph here, sank birdie putts from 16 feet at 15 and 17 feet at 18 in a seven-under par 65 to stand second on 11-under 205 through 54 holes.
A chip that likely would have gone off the green at the par-5 eighth banged into the pin and dropped for eagle. For Reed, this would be his first major championship, but for McIlroy, it would be the completion of a career grand slam. "But there are a lot more players in the spot than just Patrick Reed and I".
He paused to smile when he heard a few chuckles.
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"It was going to be tough, anytime trying to close off a golf tournament is really tough", said Reed, who posted a winning total of 15-under 273. 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.
And then on the par-5 eighth, Mickelson hit driver off the fairway to 8 feet and made eagle. He was at 8-under 208.
The 27-year-old held his nerve to drain a four-foot par putt at the 18th for a final round one-under 71 and end Fowler's hopes of a playoff.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson and 2017 PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas were on 141.
Woods played the third round with Ian Poulter - they had not played together in a tournament since the Bridgestone Invitational in 2011. He sank a 7-foot birdie putt on 18 to pull within one and keep Reed under pressure to the 72nd hole.
Reed, a former Augusta State star, returned to Augusta with limited Masters success entering the week. He's got a lot of support here.
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The rain came and went and came again.
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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.
Quote: "I feel like I'm going to go out and try and finish with a solid round tomorrow, hopefully".
Quote: "I've been waiting for this chance, to be honest".
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. You're talking about match play to stroke play and you're also talking about you have Rickie [Fowler], Jon Rahm, [Henrik] Stenson, [Tommy] Fleetwood and Bubba [Watson] right behind us.
But he shrugged off any other comparisons, starting with the decorum outside the ropes at Augusta National compared with a flag-waving crowd at the Ryder Cup.
Reed bore the burden of being the stopper, and the pressure of the moment weighed on him.
"I started nine back", Spieth said.
More than any pressure with the Grand Slam at stake, McIlroy has a score to settle.
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