Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson off to rough start at rainy Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 7 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among the early third-round starters who set out at rainy Augusta National on Saturday looking to conjure up something special and work their way into contention at the U.S. Masters.

With wet weather expected throughout most of the day, the scoring conditions at the year's first major may ease up as the rain should soften the notoriously fast Augusta National greens.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed will tee off at 2:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT) with a two-shot lead over playing competitor Marc Leishman of Australia.

Three-times Masters winner Mickelson got his day off to a frustrating start with a triple bogey at the opening hole followed by a bogey at the second to fall 18 shots behind fellow American Reed.

Woods, playing two groups behind Mickelson and in his first major since 2015, made a bogey on the par-four first that left him 14 shots off the pace.

Among the contenders who will tee off later on Saturday are Swede Henrik Stenson, who is four shots behind Reed. Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, who needs a win this week to complete the career grand slam, and world number four Jordan Spieth are both a further shot adrift.

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(Editing by Clare Fallon)