Patrick Reed’s finest golf moment came two years ago at Hazeltine when he won an epic Ryder Cup duel with Rory McIlroy.
It’s on again — Reed vs. McIlroy, Part II, and this stage is the biggest and most pressure-packed in golf — the final round of the 82nd Masters.
Reed rode the momentum of two back nine eagles on the par fives to shoot 67 Saturday and is 14-under par through 54 holes at Augusta National.
McIlroy jammed in a 14-foot birdie putt at the 18th green to shoot a dazzling 65 and earned that face-to-face with Reed in the final twosome on Sunday.
“I want to show everyone what I’ve got, and show Patrick Reed what I’ve got. The pressure’s on him. I’m there to spoil the party,” McIlroy said confidently after he finished. “At least I’m closer to him than I was at the start of the day.”
Indeed, McIlroy was five back at the start of the third round, trimming the margin to three.
While McIlroy sounded supremely confident, so did Reed.
“I am ready,” he declared after he was done. “To be able to play side-by-side with Rory is going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully we get some fireworks going.”
There were plenty of fireworks all over Augusta National on Saturday thanks to some lighter rains that made the course open for low scores. The tournament caught a break as the bulk of the really bad weather passed to the north and there were no delays during the low-scoring third round.
McIlroy’s 65 was just one of three. The other seven-under shooters are lined up directly behind Reed and McIlroy, perhaps hoping that the one-two guys falter.
Rickie Fowler’s 65 was his lowest Masters round and put him at nine-under, five back of Reed.
“All in all, a great moving day. At least we have a chance tomorrow,” Fowler said. “It’s the round I needed to give myself a chance. I know Patrick was on a roll today. It’s tough to keep playing the way he is. He’s riding a high.”
Riding a high is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Reed has recorded three straight sub-70 rounds and has a chance to make Masters history on Sunday. No one, not Jack Nicklaus, not Tiger Woods, not Arnold Palmer, not anyone has shot four straight sub-70 rounds at this major championship.
Jon Rahm will start Sunday six shots back of Reed after his 65 and that may be too many the way Reed is playing.
All eyes will be on that final pairing — Reed and McIlroy.
It is McIlroy’s first time in the final round Masters pairing since 2011. That’s the year McIlroy led by four and failed to close the deal.
“I’ve learned a lot since 2011,” McIlroy said without hesitation.
He also learned a lot from that showdown with Reed in the Ryder Cup two years ago.
Reed is tough to beat.