Leader Reed underway as Fitzpatrick provides hope for late starters

Patrick Reed was leading the Masters, but the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth were among those hunting the American at Augusta.

Patrick Reed, leader at the Masters   -  Getty Images

Leader Patrick Reed started his third round at the Masters on Saturday as Matt Fitzpatrick showed low scores are achievable on moving day.

American Reed dazzled with a 66 in round two at Augusta, which left him at nine under par for the tournament.

Reed's playing partner Marc Leishman teed off two strokes back, having signed for a 67 on Friday.

A star-studded chasing pack including Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson have also started their rounds.

Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Jon Rahm were all two under early in their rounds. Fowler and Watson sat in a tie fourth and five strokes back, with Rahm latter tied ninth and a further stroke adrift.

Difficult wet and windy conditions were initially predicted for the first day of the weekend at Augusta, but there was little more than slightly ominous cloud cover for the early tee-offs, and forecasts suggested there was only a 55 per cent chance of rain for the later starters.

That represents good news for the likes of McIlroy and Spieth, who would have been expecting tough conditions in their respective bids to hunt down Reed.

The later starters will take heart from Englishman Fitzpatrick, who shot a five-under-par 67 with a run of two birdies and an eagle between the 12th and 15th holes boosting his cause.

Tiger Woods played himself out of contention on Friday and the four-time winner – competing for the green jacket or the first time since 2015 – was level par for the day and four over for the tournament with one hole to play.