Nothing in golf compares to the dramatic intensity of a Sunday at the Masters. The pressure has caused some of the top players in the world to choke and collapse. Is Patrick Reed, in pursuit of his first major championship, ready for the moment?
Rory McIlroy, sitting three strokes behind Reed after the third round, wasted no time in playing mind games, saying, “All the pressure’s on him tomorrow.”
But it’s also nice to be playing with the lead. Reed eagled two holes on the back nine and fired a 5-under 67 on Saturday to go 14 under for the tournament. McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm each shot 65 to get within striking distance of Reed. Fowler trails by five and Rahm is six strokes back.
“If I had to bet somebody, I would bet Rory in the position he’s in,” Westgate golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said. “But Reed has a little experience going for him after facing Rory in the Ryder Cup, so that should help him avoid falling apart.”
Reed is the 6-5 favorite (plus-120) on the Westgate’s adjusted odds board. McIlroy is posted at 8-5 odds, followed by Fowler (7-1) and Rahm (14-1).
In their Ryder Cup duel in 2016, a fist-pumping Reed defeated McIlroy on the 18th hole. In 2011 at Augusta National, McIlroy held a four-shot lead before falling apart and shooting 80 in the final round. So McIlroy, seeking to complete the career Grand Slam, could avenge two painful memories by winning his first green jacket.
The stage is set for a suspenseful Sunday, but Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be nowhere near the spotlight. Tiger is 4 over and tied for 40th, 18 strokes behind Reed. Phil has been more of a flop this week at 7 over.
First-round leader Jordan Spieth is tied for ninth, nine shots out of the lead. Spieth’s slide is a reminder to not overreact to the first day. The Masters is won on Sunday, not Thursday.
Masters adjusted odds
(Westgate sports book)
Patrick Reed 6-5
Rory McIlroy 8-5
Rickie Fowler 7-1
Jon Rahm 14-1
Henrik Stenson 30-1
Bubba Watson 40-1
Tommy Fleetwood 50-1
Jordan Spieth 60-1
Justin Thomas 80-1
Marc Leishman 100-1
Dustin Johnson 150-1
Field (all others) 100-1