Patrick Reed has held the lead for two rounds at The Masters. He held a two-stroke lead after the second round and increased that to a three-stroke lead on Saturday. He’s shot 69-66-67 over the first three rounds this year on his way to 14-under and on Sunday he’ll have a chance at history.
How, you may be asking, well, no one has ever carded four rounds in the 60’s at Augusta National. No one, not even Jack or Tiger, in the 82 editions of the Masters has ever done it. Reed will attempt to be the first player to do that on Sunday.
Of course, he’s going to have to play some amazing golf to hold off Rory McIlroy, who is in search of his first green jacket and completion of the career grand slam, but Reed has faced McIlroy before. The two have battled in the Ryder Cup where Reed more recently came out on top, but this is the Masters, this is Augusta, and as we’ve learned over the years, the tournament doesn’t start until the back-nine on Sunday.
Reed had this to say of the atmosphere at Augusta versus the Ryder Cup, where he’s gone head-to-head against McIlroy:
"“It will be calmer. There’s a lot of stuff that you can do at Ryder Cup that you can’t do at Augusta National. (Laughter)."
"“It’s going to be‑‑ you’re talking about polar opposites. You’re talking about a match‑play tournament and you’re talking about a major championship. It’s going to be electrifying. The fans are going to be ready to go, they are going to be ready to cheer for whoever is making putts, whoever is making birdies or pulling off shots. It’s just going to be one of those days you just need to go out and be able to put your nose to the grind and just play some golf.”"
Reed also has a chance to break the scoring record on the par-5’s. On Saturday, he played them at six-under with two birdies on the front nine and two eagles on the back. There are currently four guys tied for the record on the par-5’s at 15-under; Greg Norman (1995), Tiger Woods (2010), Ernie Els (2013), and Phil Mickelson (2015). Reed is currently 13-under through three rounds.
While over the course of his career, Reed has not fared well at Augusta, he’s never finished higher than tied for 22nd and has missed the cut twice in his four appearances, that hasn’t seemed to bother him one bit this week. When asked what’s been different for the 27-year-old Reed this week, he gave the following response:
"“Just playing golf. You know, every time I come to a major, I always think, oh, well, it’s a major, and I try to put too much on it. But I’m just out here playing golf. I think that’s the biggest thing. Mentally I’m just treating it like any other golf tournament, any other round. Just go out and do what I know how to do, which is hit the ball somewhat straight, knock it on the green and let the putter work.”"
Reed had his best major finish last season at the PGA Championship where he finished tied for second with Francesco Molinari, just two strokes behind winner Justin Thomas.
As for his haters, Reed doesn’t care what they think.
"“I don’t know. Why don’t you ask them? I mean, I have no idea, and honestly, I don’t really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me. I’m out here to do my job, and that’s to play golf. I feel like if I’m doing it the right way, then that’s all that really matters.”"
He shouldn’t. He’s out here to do his job and prove that he is one of the best golfers on the Tour, and he has a chance to do that on Sunday at the Masters.