Putting woes stifle Johnson, Spieth, Thomas at Masters

Rory Mc Ilroy and caddie Harry Diamond shake hands on the 18th green during the third round

He missed five putts from 10 feet or less on the front nine, most notably a four-footer for eagle at the par-five second that would have sent a roar around Augusta National and a shudder through his rivals.

Fowler finished just a shot behind Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed at Augusta National after weekend rounds of 65 and 67 were not enough to overcome a slow start. "I put it in the right spots so I could be aggressive with the putter".

"I saw Jordan and Rickie storm up those leaderboards", Reed said.

Forest Hills Golf Course near Wrightsboro Rd in Augusta was Reed's home turf in college.

When his hopes faded, Fowler took up the mantle with six birdies in the last 11 holes to finish second, and he kept Reed on his toes right until the last hole. Henrik Stenson (70) was seven shots behind.

Nine of the last 10 major championships have been won by first-time major winners.

"I think that's the biggest thing going into a Sunday, especially trying to win, for me trying to win my first; for him, trying to win the career Grand Slam, it's who is going to handle the pressure and who is going to have more pressure on them".

"I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans, but then when Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a little louder", Reed said. In the game of golf, there are a few real pinnacles and I think the green jacket is one of them because not that many people in history have been able to slip it on their shoulders.

US players will continue to gain points in 2018 at every non-opposite PGA Tour event, WGC and major through the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive, concluding on August 12, 2018.

In four Masters appearances, Spieth also has two runner-up finishes and a tie for 11th previous year.

"I am ready to go win a major", Fowler said. "It was a little bit disappointing I didn't hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week". "The wind was up", Stenson said.

Third-round leader Patrick Reed is 14 under, three shots ahead of Rory McIlroy and five ahead of Rickie Fowler.

"Of course it's frustrating", McIlroy said. If you called up central casting and asked for a slow-pitch softball slugger, you would get Patrick Reed. "The wind swirls in these big tall trees".

He had to get up-and-down behind the green on the par-5 15th for par. We know what can happen on that back nine on Sunday.

More winds and cooler conditions are expected Saturday along with rain. "Worst-case scenario we'll make par". He says he learned from his mistakes - McIlroy won the first of his four majors at the U.S. Open two months after his Masters meltdown - and loves the idea that he has nothing to lose being three shots behind.

So many others who started the third round with a chance didn't do almost enough to stay even remotely close to Reed. "Today I got myself there, I didn't quite do enough but I'll still come back next year and try again". However, missing the putt and having to settle for birdie was compounded by a bogey at the next and a birdie from Reed which brought the American's lead back to three. "Probably put 40 yards of hook on it", Leishman said.

"Just keep doing exactly what I'm doing", he said.

"I went out there and I tried so hard to get the ball in the hole".

Woods opened with a bogey and took double bogey at the fifth, his approach soaring over the green into dense brush. Woods became the last pro in the field to make a birdie or better at a par-5 hole by two-putting for birdies from 40 feet at 13 and 35 feet at 15. He made all pars from there.

Three-time Masters victor Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number at 5-over 149. It came 12 months after he'd missed the cut in the season's opening major.

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