Patrick Reed can make Masters history with another round in 60s

Rory McIlroy

It's all setting up perfectly for Patrick Reed on Sunday at the 82nd Masters, except maybe for the wardrobe.

Patrick Reed will take a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy heading into the final round of the Masters.

Sunday's setting will be much different than the context of global Cup competition in which Reed has excelled. The good news for Reed is that Nike is giving him a microwave excuse if things go awry on Sunday.

The conditions, which produced softened greens compared to the first two days, caused Reed to have to adjust, especially on his putts.

His birdie on the 18th hole Saturday filled McIlroy with fist-pumping momentum, and he wasted no time with a form of gamesmanship by reminding Reed he has a three-shot lead, saying, "I feel like all the pressure is on him". Alister Mackenzie's masterpiece is challenging enough, after all, but there's no way to ignore the stakes when he steps to the first tee Sunday.

"I got on a nice little run there on the front nine, and the birdies sort of dried up a little bit", said McIlroy. "I'm going to free wheel it and play like I have nothing to lose, everything to gain". Using McIlroy's quest for history as motivation could work to Reed's advantage. He was 48 years old, had not won any tournament in five years or any major title in eight years.

Fitzpatrick made four birdies and an eagle - all in a nine-hole stretch - to surge up the leaderboard.

If the 27-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup star can finish his conquest of a place he calls "basically golf's heaven", everyone who loves this hateful game should gaze around with glee.

Reed will have to imagine that he's cloaked in red, white and blue, perhaps adding a flowing cape for good measure. I just felt like from that point, the crowds were electrified.

"The course was playing a lot easier", said Fleetwood, whose only bogey came from a three-putt on the 18th.

McIlroy said of his round: "It was really special". "All the pressure is on him. He's got that to deal with and sleep on tonight".

And, of course, Reed, who still must prove he can conquer his nerves in a major. He already owns a World Golf Championship and a FedExCup Playoffs event among his five PGA TOUR victories. That "something else" is a collection of four majors that only five other players can claim.

How important is the feat? The two will be paired together in the final group at Augusta National on Sunday.

The fourth round of the Masters may be the moment that Patrick Reed has been waiting for throughout his career. He's certainly well within range of being able to take home his first green jacket.

Spieth, meanwhile, has never been so far adrift starting the final round in his previous four starts at Augusta.

His three-shot lead is a margin that can dissolve quickly, leaving only misery.

"All in all, it was a great moving day and I've put myself in a spot where I have a chance", said the 29-year-old Californian after signing for his first bogey-free round here. He called that loss "a turning point in my career".

"I've come over and played in America this year a bit more, and I guess I want to win in America". "I feel like it made me a better person".

Also in with a chance of doing that are 2015 Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler and Spaniard Jon Rahm, who sit five shots and six shots respectively behind Reed.

Fowler finished Round 3 at 9 under, finishing just after Rahm, tying him for low round of the week when he birdied the par-4 17th for the third straight time this week.

"This is my first final group here since 2011", said McIlroy.

"I'm not out there to play Rory", he said after polishing off a smooth 5-under 67. The two put on a match for the ages.

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