Tiger Woods' Masters finishes with a bang
- Jennie Wade
Former Masters hero Spieth threatened to write a Masters script for the ages, tying Reed for the lead late in the final round after starting the day nine shots behind the 27-year-old American. "I want to spoil the party".
Still fighting his way back to top form after undergoing spinal fusion surgery last April, Woods offered glimpses of the skill and talent that lifted him to 14 major titles but was never in serious contention.
This is the fourth straight year that McIlroy arrived at Augusta National looking to complete the career Grand Slam - a feat accomplished by only five of the game's greatest players.
"I've been waiting for this chance, to be honest", said McIlroy in a news conference. "This is my first final group here since 2011, and I feel like I learned an terrible lot that day".
The 27-year-old American, competing in his fifth Masters, had never broken 70 at Augusta National prior to this week but has been almost untouchable and his three-round total is only four shots off the tournament's record-winning score.
This is not match play as it was for their singles match in Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
Very little went right except for a pair of birdies on the par 5s on the back nine. He then drained a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 9 and a 9-footer at No. 10, and never led by less than three shots after that. He second one was even better.
Woods came into the week wayward off the tee but strong with his approaches and putts. The roar echoed the cheers that McIlroy had created by getting an eagle on eight as he chipped it from the rough right of the green and it whizzed right into the cup.
He certainly believes that he's going to win on Sunday, and after watching him for three days, it's hard to make a compelling case that he won't. He posted red numbers on Nos.
It's the fifth time in 46 holes that Reed strung together back-to-back-to-back birds.
The 47-year-old five-time Major victor came into the Masters touted as a contender to surpass Jack Nicklaus as the oldest-ever victor, a mark established with Nicklaus' victory in 1986 at the age of 46. Reed is 13-under on the par-5 holes this week and made birdie or eagle on every one, every day.
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Several passengers were taken to the hospital, but troopers said none of the injuries were life-threatening. The station reports seven other people are either in fair or critical condition at another hospital.
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Three-time Masters victor Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number at 5-over 149. He hit short into Rae's Creek in the first two rounds to make bogey. He is at 7-over 223 heading into the final 18 holes Sunday.
Reed is at 14 under after the third-round, three strokes ahead of McIlroy. In the hours before the leaders tee off on Masters Sunday, the area's thick with patrons sipping Arnold Palmers and breathing deep of the prestige of the place.
By this time, the battle was joined by a few players, including Spieth, who kept pecking away at his deficit with one birdie after another. McIlroy responded with a dramatic fist pump while biting his bottom lip. 2 and 15). He also made birdies at No. 6 and No. 16. The shot would have rolled well past the hole, but it hit the stick and dropped in for a 3. He shot 80. He recovered from that misery to win his next major start, the U.S. Open at Congressional that June. "That was the best experience I've ever had with a marker".
What grade does Tiger's Masters week get?
A large crowd stopped and gathered around the ninth green while Woods was getting ready to hit his tee shot. And there was that football game in South Bend, Ind., last year, when he miffed Georgia fans posing for photos wearing Notre Dame attire in a Bulldogs-Fighting Irish game.
Casey didn't like the mattress in the house he rented near the course, so he bunked with his kid in "a proper bed".
Out of nowhere he was the betting favorite - memory sometimes overwhelms reality - and mainly because of Woods' presence in the field for the first time since 2015. He continued to struggle with iron play, failing to get a grip on distance control. "My swing's just off with my irons at the wrong time". Woods is paired up with Spaniard Rafael Cabrera Bello as they embark on their Day 4 attempts to move up higher on the leaderboard.
"I thought that my two-putt save on No. 9 was really, really big", he said. "I just haven't gotten it done", Woods said. Still, he played much more like the four-time Masters champion everyone remembers for the first time all week. He missed the cut. Then the rain came, a heavy shower that started and stopped with equal suddenness, as if someone was working it with a switch.
What will Phil do next? He followed that with a bogey.
Spain's Jon Rahm was a shot further back after three birdies and an eagle on the eighth, with Henrik Stenson and Marc Leishman also six under. He's no less entertaining. He made par with a chip in to four feet. He was 1 over for his round. Woods pulled his opening drive into the trees.
Tiger Woods, who began the day 13 shots behind Reed, failed to mount any sort of charge.
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