Patrick Reed will take a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy into Sunday’s final round of the 82nd Masters Tournament.
Who will prevail at Augusta National? Our experts weigh in after 54 holes:
Rory McIlroy. A three-stroke lead does not mean much at Augusta National. While it is difficult but not impossible to see Reed’s incredible play this week continue, McIlroy could have a huge distance advantage Sunday. Had they been playing together Saturday, Reed would have hit first into 11 of the 14 driving holes, allowing him to land the first punch. History tells us, however, there is great mojo in conquering the par-5s and overpowering Augusta National. Given how much McIlroy feeds off his driving, I expect him to shoot 67 to Reed’s 70 and win in a two-hole sudden-death playoff.
Patrick Reed. Most people would expect McIlroy to overpower Augusta National on Sunday and rally past Reed for the win. But Reed has actually played the par-5s in 13 under this week, two shots off the tournament record of 15 under, and he eagled both of them on the back nine Saturday. Reed loves the big moments, and what bigger moment is there than a Masters Sunday? He continues to make big putts, shoots 70 and edges McIlroy by a shot with birdie at the last.
Rory McIlroy. Winning any major is daunting. Winning this one even more so. If Reed breaks 70 again he will win, but I think he’ll find the pressure exceeds his Ryder Cup experiences. McIlroy wins with his putter rather than his driver.
Patrick Reed. Many players fail from this position, I’m going to guess he doesn’t. Reed is a proven winner and not one bit intimidated by Rory McIlroy. This is definitely a new spot for him, but Reed has often shown he’s thrived in discomfort.