AUGUSTA, Ga. — Moving Day lived up to its name as low scores abounded during Saturday’s third round of the Masters, producing some record-setting numbers and others that came close enough to setting marks to make them worthy of our latest installment of the stats that matter at this year’s Masters.
• By reaching 14-under-par 203 after 54 holes, Patrick Reed has joined some elite company. Only four previous times has a player been at 202 or lower through 54 holes at the Masters. Boding well for Reed is that all of them own green jackets. Here’s the list:
1965: Jack Nicklaus, 202 1976: Raymond Floyd, 201 1997: Tiger Woods, 201 2015: Jordan Spieth, 200 2018: Patrick Reed, 202
• So, who will win the Masters? Look no further than the top five spots on the leader board. Not since Nick Faldo in 1989 has a player been outside of the top five and won the Masters. In fact, 23 of the winners since then were either first or second heading into Sunday. That means look for Reed, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler or Henrik Stenson to be wearing green tomorrow night. With no one else within seven shots of Reed, expect this mark to be extended tomorrow.
• Not convinced Rahm (six back) or Stenson (seven back) have a chance? Consider that fives times in Masters history a player has come from six or more back on the final day to win, and twice it has been seven or more shots (Jack Burke came from eight behind in 1956 and Gary Player from seven back in 1978). And how about Rory McIlroy’s chances at three back? Fifteen times the winner has erased that deficit or more on the final day, including three times in the last seven Masters (Charl Schwartzel, 2011; Bubba Watson, 2012, Danny Willett, 2016).
• Tommy Fleetwood made five consecutive birdies but came up two short of matching the all-time Masters record. Steve Pate had seven in a row in 1999’s third round (starting at No. 7) and Tiger Woods matched it in 2005’s third round, also starting on No. 7. The birdie binge might have been some solid karma for Fleetwood, who came out nearly three hours ahead of his Thursday tee time to watch Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit their ceremonial tee shots.
• Rahm, Fowler and McIlroy fired impressive 65s during the third round, something you might think would be rather commonplace on “Moving Day.” However, the duo’s seven-under-par efforts are only the 12th, 13th and 14th times in tournament history that a player has shot 65 or better in the third round. It’s also the first time there has ever been three 65s fired on the same day of any round. Other third-round 65s include Tiger, who has done it twice (1997, 2005), and Nick Price (63 in 1986) and Nicklaus (64 in 1965), who were the only ones to go lower than that. Others were Dow Finsterwald (1962), Johnny Miller (1975), Hubert Green (1978), Curtis Strange (1995), Steve Pate (1999), Trevor Immelman (2005) and Peter Hanson (2012). Only three of the previous 11 won the Masters that year.