AUGUSTA, Ga. — Like most of the field at this year’s Masters, Zach Johnson fell out of contention during a rainy and breezy third round Saturday at Augusta National.
Johnson posted a second consecutive 2-over 74 to fall into a tie for 30th place, 16 shots behind Ryder Cup teammate Patrick Reed.
Reed is trying to break through for his first major at Augusta National as Johnson did 11 years ago.
In Johnson’s eyes, Reed has a fighter’s mentality that should serve him well Sunday.
“He’s just gritty, gutsy, no fear, he’s obviously very confident and on a golf course like this where you feel like if you’re seeing your lines and you’re hitting your shots properly, that’s a pretty awesome combination,” Johnson said of the 27-year-old Texan.
For Johnson, hitting his own shots properly proved a challenge Saturday as he struggled with his green speed the entire afternoon.
“My speed was off on my putts substantially,” Johnson said. “And then the moment you feel like you’ve got to whack it, (my stroke) was not consistent, it was not what it had been previous days out here.”
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So what was the biggest reason within his own game why Johnson fell from eight strokes back to begin the day to 16 as he ended it?
“Numerous three-putts, numerous 8- to 15-footers that I just didn’t hit,” Johnson said.
“I had them read properly, I just didn’t get them in. I got them inline, I just didn’t have the right speed. Either they were too short or too long.”
The soggy course also played much differently Saturday versus Thursday and Friday because of the rain, and Johnson knew there was plenty of opportunity out there.
“I thought it played quite a bit easier (Saturday) versus (Friday) afternoon in particular,” Johnson said. “It was a lot softer, greens were a little bit slower, but yet I was still getting some roll in the fairway so I feel like (Saturday) was a day that you could kind of get it to some degree.
“We’re seeing both (roll and softness) but (Saturday) was the day that I felt you could kind of get it.”