The talking weather heads told us there was plenty of potential for trouble on Saturday — charcoal-colored clouds, a slight breeze and an annoying drizzle would make Augusta National an even greater challenge than normal.
It didn't exactly happen that way.
In all fairness, that is how the day started, but the inclement weather subsided through mid-afternoon, and when the final groups set out, the conditions were surprisingly receptive.
Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Bubba Watson were among those who took advantage of the improved afternoon weather.
But they couldn't catch Patrick Reed, who came in with the lead, and did his best to keep a firm grasp on it with some scintillating play. He finished the day with a three-stroke edge.
Here's a link to the entire leaderboard.
And here are the storylines we followed throughout the day:
1. Reed feeling at home in Augusta
He's never been described as warm and fuzzy, but Patrick Reed is a fighter, dating back to his days when he led the Augusta State golf team to a pair of NCAA Division I titles.
His college coach likened him to a basketball player who wants the last shot.
And after an incredible showing on Saturday, Reed should have that opportunity in a final-round pairing with Rory McIlroy.
Here's a story by Doug Stutsman of the Augusta Chronicle, in which former Augusta State coach Josh Gregory talks about Reed's success.
Reed's finest moments came on the back nine — he hit a winding putt on No. 13 to close Amen Corner with an eagle, and then added another by chipping in on No. 15 just moments after he flirted with a water hazard.
To get caught up on Reed's play and the entire third round, here's a roundup from David Lee of the Augusta Chronicle.
2. Rory roared in with a beauty (after escaping azaleas)
Rory McIlroy was already 6-under on the day as he walked up to the green on No. 18, but he was still slipping further behind Reed, who had put together a pair of eagles in an amazing three-hole stretch.
McIlroy drew one of the day's largest cheers, however, as he stuck a long putt on the final hole, giving him a 65 — tying for the day's best round.
Perhaps the biggest moment was when Rory hit it into the azaleas on No. 13, the first time he says he'd ever hit the ball there, but then saved a huge par.
"It was a sea of pink," McIlroy said. "I was lucky just to see the ball, and I had a stance ‑‑ you know, it's actually ‑‑ azaleas are actually pretty thin down below. They look pretty thick on top, but down below they are actually not too bad. I could take a stance and just sort of pick the club straight up and get it back down on top of it and just trundle it out through the pine straw and back on to the grass."
3. Fleetwood keeps on driving at Augusta (sometimes unwillingly)
Tommy Fleetwood loves driving at Augusta National Golf Club.
Driving to Augusta National Golf Club is not his favorite.
The easy-going Brit continued to mash the ball during the third round of The Masters — he leads the field in driving distance by more than three yards with an average of 310.3 yards per poke.
Those big hits produced some low scores on Saturday as he rolled in five birdies on the back nine en route to a 66.
Since nothing seems to bother Fleetwood on the course, a reporter asked the last time he lost his cool.
"Probably traffic last night. Any time there's traffic, that does me in. So it can happen quite often," he said. "Luckily enough, I'm naturally kind of patient and stay calm enough most of the time, whether it's good or bad. I feel like it's a nice attribute to have. I like staying like that. I don't want to change."
Fleetwood is tied for sixth place, eight strokes behind Patrick Reed.
4. Tiger being Tiger, whatever that means
He's still followed and adored by massive crowds. He's still capable of amazing play, like this beautiful shot on No. 6, which netted a birdie.
But in the end, Tiger Woods is still more the player we've watched for the past few years — battling for survival — than the one we remember dominating the tour.
After posting bogeys on each of the first holes, Woods did get back to even for the front nine on Saturday, meaning he's unlikely to be anywhere in the top 20 once Sunday shakes out.
Woods still has power — he's ninth in driving distance — but he's tied for dead-last in accuracy, hitting just 19 of 42 fairways thus far. He's 4-over for the tournament and currently tied for 40th place.
Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle has more on Tiger in this piece, including a note that Woods can take away something positive in the form of his first cut made at a major since 2015.
5. Casey gets a playing partner — who's no stranger to Augusta
When the cut/pairings don't produce an even number of participants, what's the club to do?
It calls on longtime Augusta National member Jeff Knox to round out the sheet.
Knox has done this numerous times since 2003, playing as a "non-competing marker," and he was paired with Paul Casey on Saturday.
Just because he's a last-minute addition, that doesn't mean he can't light it up — as this story from Augusta.com explains, Knox shot 70 in the third round of the 2014 Masters, beating Rory McIlroy by a shot.
BONUS WEATHER REPORT: Rain missed us, for the most part
The forecast wasn't great as you can see here, and many here figured some of the leaders' rounds would need to be continued on Sunday.
But incredibly, the folks at Augusta National — long known for willing things to reality — found a way to keep most of the afternoon rain away from the course. I joked on Twitter that I feel as if I'm in "The Truman Show." If you're under 30, go ahead and Google that. Or better yet, here's the trailer.
It'll be cooler, but clearer on Sunday, so the weather shouldn't play a factor.
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