American Patrick Reed, hit a magnificent second shot on the second playoff hole to six feet and made the putt as out-dueled American Jordan Spieth to win the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday. The twenty-somethings, Reed 23 and Spieth 20, both posted 14-under-par 266 to earn the right to playoff. Young Americans Brian Harman (27) and John Huh (23) carded 268 to round out the podium in joint third.
Patrick Reed gained notoriety on TOUR last season as “Mr. Monday Qualifier” as he reached the main event SIX times from winning the tournament before the tournament. This season, by way of his T22 finish at Q school, Reed has used his Mondays either to recharge his batteries or to play practice rounds as he had full membership. All of that hard work came to fruition on Sunday as he kept his composure and held his first career 54-hole co-lead to win for the first time in his career on TOUR.
What a difference a year makes.
Even though he qualified six times on Monday in 2012, he never quite hit the payday that would push him over the top to gain his TOUR card as he only made seven cuts in 12 events. Gamers could see the potential as he hit the top 25 in four of those but kept falling short of the top 10. His pedigree wasn’t in doubt as he won the 2006 Junior British Open and was a semifinalist in the 2008 U.S. Amateur, losing to eventual champion and world No. 1 at the time, Danny Lee. He also won the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Championship team format while attending Augusta State. After not registering a top 10 last season, Reed has now racked up four, including this week’s victory, in his last seven events on TOUR. After MC at Zurich, he’s now played nine of the last 10 weekends as well and his last two finishes heading into the week were T7 at JDC and T9 at the RBC Canadian so he was trending the right direction!
Season-long and weekly gamers will both be rewarded for their foresight and patience. Now that Reed has a two-year exemption, he should be even more comfortable as 2013 blends into 2014. Reed showed his nerve in the playoff and all week as he carded 21 birdies, second best on the week, and led the field in GIR. It didn’t hurt that his putter helped him to 14th in putts per GIR and fifth in strokes gained-putting. Hitting that many greens and making that many putts is a formula that rarely loses! His victory this week takes him from No. 78 to No. 22 in the Playoff standings and almost guarantees him a trip to The TOUR Championship in Atlanta.
What a difference a WEEK makes!
With this victory, Reed collects $954,000 and 500 FedExCup points on top of his two-year exemption.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
In six events at Sedgefield, the 54-hole leader/co-leader has now won five times. John Huh, also co-54-hole leader, finished third but I’ll let that slide.
There have been 36 tournaments this season and the USA has won 30 of them.
There have been 12, first-time winners this season and just four players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker).
Now, 16 of the 54-hole leaders or co-leaders have gone on to win the 34, full-field, stroke-play events on the season.
Reed becomes the first player on TOUR to win with his wife on the bag since Steve Stricker and his wife won the 1996 BMW Championship.
Reed joins Vaughn Taylor as the only Augusta State alums to win on TOUR.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FIVE times (37), Mickelson (42) TWICE, Snedeker (32) TWICE, Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) Haas (31), Blixt (29), Austin (49), Woodland (29), Dufner (36), Reed (23) and 19-year old Jordan Spieth. The young folks (30 and younger) now have 14 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 17 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) now have FIVE wins. Bob Estes, 47, gave the “oldies” their best chance of victory with T8 this week.
A look at the players who finished in the top 10
Jordan Spieth: The rookie of the year candidate validated his decision to skip the WGC-BI to take some time off at home before the final stretch of the 2013 season. After winning his first TOUR event at the JDC, Spieth hurried it over to Scotland for The Open Championship to post T44. He took time off and headed home to play, make birdies and relax before heading to the PGA where he MC. He rebounded perfectly this week and if you’re wondering what this kid is made of, look no further than the 25-footer he made to save par and force a second playoff hole. Sure, he missed a 10-footer under the gun on that next hole but just putting himself in that position will be a huge positive in his psyche that he did the right thing by skipping the WGC-BI. His worst finish at Sedgefield in tournament play is now T6 in three events (two as a junior player). He moves from No. 16 to No. 8 in the Playoff race and will be in Atlanta for the TOUR Championship. What a rookie season from a kid who began the year with NO STATUS on TOUR.
John Huh: The 54-hole co-leader was looking for his second win in his second year on TOUR (Mayakoba last year) but his bogey-bogey finish will keep him looking for answers on the practice range. Huh will be frustrated when he looks back on his triple bogey on No. 2 on Saturday as being the difference. He’ll also be frustrated to see that he made only THREE bogeys in the first 70 holes before bogeying his final two holes. He was second in driving accuracy. He was third in GIR. He was third in birdies made. He finished T3. What could have been…Huh wasn’t on the radar this week because he MC in his last four events and he only had one round of 70 or better in his last 13 rounds. His T3 moves him into the top 70, No. 65, as we enter the Playoffs and as of right now, that gets him into the first three events. He decided to get hot at the right time! Good for him, bad for gamers.
Brian Harman: He backed up his T11 last time out at Reno-Tahoe with his career-best finish, T3, this week. Harman has played 56 events the last two seasons on TOUR and had only racked up two top 10s so this will be an excellent boost for his confidence. Gamers who didn’t see this coming, including me, can be absolved as he made four cuts from 10 before his T11 at Reno-Tahoe and the best finish of that bunch was T27. The lefty from Georgia moves from No. 115 to No. 80 in the rankings so another top finish can vault him into the top 70 for the BMW. He’s in the best form of his career and should be worth a look in deeper fields this coming week and next.
Matt Jones: Speaking of guys who are in the form of their lives, Matt Jones fits directly in that category. His T5 this week is his fourth top 10 in seven weeks and his third in the last four. That’s hot, folks! After his mysterious WD at the RBC Canadian, gamers were left wondering what was going on. He rebounded with T40 at the PGA two weeks later and left me with more answers than questions. Rob Bolton was not dismayed and endorsed him this week. I should listen to my boss more often! His T5 moves him from No. 51 to No. 37 on the Playoff list. He’s in touching distance of Atlanta and his form suggests that’s not out of the question!
Matt Every: After four top 10s in his first 14 events of 2012, most gamers were more concerned with this former Florida Gator than they were with Billy Horschel. Every finished last year quietly with only two more top 10s in his final 11 events. In 25 events so far in 2013 Every has now posted three top 10s so to say this year was disappointing in gamers’ eyes would be an understatement. Heading into the week he MC in four of seven events and his best finish was T28. He backed up his T14 here last year with T5 so he’ll be on the radar next year. Every now sits No. 88 in the playoffs and will need to make the cut next weekend to see Boston in week two. He can get hot but I haven’t seen enough consistency to write that down in permanent marker yet.
Zach Johnson: Another week, another top 10 for the American who’s found his footing this summer with a torrid run of play. Johnson’s T5 this week adds to his P2 at the JDC, T6 at The Open Championship, T4 at WGC-BI and T8 at last week’s PGA. That’s five in a row. I decided to jump on him in the OAD this week, even though his course history here was spotty and can’t be disappointed in the least bit. Johnson will miss next week’s Playoffs opener at Liberty National to be the best man in his brother’s wedding. He’s earned the break after that streak!
Rory Sabbatini: Another player whose current form has led him from the wilderness into the Playoffs, Sabbatini’s T8 this week is his fourth venture into the top 10 in six weeks. His other two finishes, minus one MC, were T17 and T12 so it was no surprise to me that he cashed a nice check this week as well. Don’t let a golfer’s personality cloud judgment on the fantasy circuit! The only thing that matters on Sunday is the final position on the leaderboard!
Andres Gonzales: The only result that would have helped Gonzalez this week would have been a victory as he was slotted at No. 238 in the standings. Entering the week he missed 14 of 16 cuts. His best TOUR finish was T54. At least he’s funny on Twitter.
Bob Estes: He helped himself from No. 104 to No. 94 this week so he’ll need another high finish at Liberty National to keep his Playoffs alive next week. He’s made 13 of 16 cuts this season and his T8 finish is second-best to his T7 at Valero. He had a very solid week ball-striking and putting and is inside the top 100 for the first time in four years.
“Hey, what ever happened to…”
I take a look back at what happened to my chalk
Brandt Snedeker: Since his victory at the RBC Canadian, Snedeker has tailed with T33 at WGC-BI, T66 at the PGA and MC this week at Sedgefield. His ball-striking let him down as he only hit 50% of the fairways and greens in the second round and not even his putter, which did its usual excellent job, could bail him out. There’s two ways to look at this, I believe. One, he knew this stretch would be difficult when he signed up to play it so I believe he’ll feel that these weeks were bound to happen. Two, he’s run out of gas. Since he played this schedule last year, I’ll go with option one. The money is now on the table and he’ll be just dandy down the stretch.
Webb Simpson: A wonderful six birdies and an eagle against only one birdie saw Simpson almost back-door at top 10 this week with his closing round 63. He also posted a bogey-free 67 on Friday. He’s now 17 for 21 on the season and has hit the top 25 in the last three weeks which includes Sunday’s T11. He’s trending in the right direction as he heads to the FedExCup Playoffs.
Bill Haas: A steady yet unspectacular week for Haas saw him finish T20 but I like what I saw. He carded 50 pars, good for T3, and that’s encouraging heading to a ball-strikers layout next week at Liberty National, especially after just finishing T45 in GIR. He got up-and-down and avoided bogeys, just eight on the week, and that’s the recipe for next week. Since MC at the U.S. Open he’s racked up finishes of WIN, T9, MC, T7, T25 and T20 this week.
Chris Kirk: According to his Twitter, he was upset with the setup of the golf course as h mentioned how he wasn’t thrilled about how many chances there were to putt off the greens. His putter, usually his meal ticket, was ice cold this week as he finished 56th in putts per GIR and 53rd in strokes-gained putting in his T65 finish. He only made 10 birdies and that was 72nd of 73 weekend players. #swingandamiss
Hideki Matsuyama: He ended the week 15th but anything but a victory saw him eliminated from the Playoffs as he’s not eligible. The upside is that he keeps reinforcing that he can flat-out play golf at the highest level. He finished the week T3 GIR but just didn’t make enough putts to push into the top 10. In six TOUR events this season, his worst finish was T21. That included two majors and a WGC event. Read those last two sentences again if you think he’s a “fluke”.
Sergio Garcia: His fantastic run at Sedgefield, fourth in 2009 and a winner here last year, endured a slight hiccup this year with a T29 finish. He began his defense with an excellent opening round 65 but failed to break par in his final three rounds to slide out of contention. He was T9 in GIR but the No. 1 putter on TOUR went cool on the greens as he finished 49th in putts per GIR. He’ll play the first three events of the Playoffs but will need a big finish to hit the TOUR Championship as he currently resides in 59th place. The top 70 play at the penultimate event, the BMW and he must be in the final 30 to head to Atlanta.
Jimmy Walker: He’ll have everything to play for in the Playoffs as he starts the journey at No. 26. He’s now sandwiched a T2 at Greenbrier between two cuts prior and three cuts, including this week, after. This is his first trip into the deep end of the pool and I’m interested in how he responds during this career year. The Deutsch Bank Championship will be the last track, to my current knowledge, that he’ll be able to rack up birdies. He now has three MCs, a T71 and a T66 in addition to his T4 here last year. One of these things is not like the other…
Boo Weekley: With his T37 finish, Weekley has now made the weekend in 19 of 23 attempts this season. His ball-striking was steady but two doubles during the on the weekend kept him from challenging the leaders. His best finish remains just T32 at this event in five tries.
Carl Pettersson: The home-town favorite came in ice cold and left even cooler as he MC. Admittedly this was a stretch from the word go and his familiarity on this course couldn’t even overcome his recent uneven play.
This was the final cut for players residing in and around the top 125. Let’s take a look at how they avoided the drop.
George McNeill: Began: 120; Finished: 121
His T60 finish was plenty to have him secure his place in the 125. He’ll need a top finish next week to continue.
Scott Langley: Began: 121; Finished 124
Whew. His opening 67 was followed by a 76 but it was just enough to see him make it through.
Greg Chalmers: Began: 122; Finished 122
His T52 was enough to avoid the drop this week that is…
Stuart Appleby: Began: 123; Finished 123
Another Aussie sneaks by but bookend rounds of 66 show some hope.
Ben Crane: Began: 124; Finished 125
His MC brought hope to those behind him but he survives on the number.
Steven Bowditch: Began: 125; Finishes 120
His steady run of play saw him finish T29 and crush the dreams of those behind him entering the week.
Peter Hanson: Began 126; Finished 127
The Swede should survive as his money total will see him hit the top 125
Nicolas Colsaerts: Began 127; Finished 128
He didn’t enter. All righty then!
Brad Fritsch: Began 128; Finished 129
His MC saw him miss out.
Padraig Harrington: Began 129; Finished 130
He’s not bothered as he’s a three-time major champion. Exempt.
Bud Cauley: Began 130; Finished 131
His T3 finish LAST year at this tournament was just that, last year.
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