Reed authors sizzling round
PGA Tour rookie Patrick Reed doesn’t mind that his wife, Justine, attracts attention because she is also his caddie.
“It means less attention for me, which means I can focus more on my game.” the 23-year-old Reed said on Friday.
By the time he said that, he had garnered plenty of attention while leading a youth movement in the second round of the Wyndham Championship.
Reed, in his first full year on the PGA Tour after getting into a handful of tournaments as a Monday qualifier last season, fired a bogey-free 6-under-par 64 at Sedgefield Country Club for an 11-under 129 total.
That gives him a 1-shot lead over 23-year-old John Huh, the Tour’s rookie of the year last season who charged into second by fashioning the tournament’s low round, a 62, in the afternoon.
Huh did just enough to knock rookie sensation Jordan Spieth to third.
Spieth, who earned full status as a Tour player with a victory in the John Deere Classic last month as a then 19-year-old, carded a 66 for a 9-under 131.
“The greens are perfect. They’re very true. They’re firm and fast. Everything that I like,” Reed said. “To be able to putt on really fast greens like this is a treat.”
Another treat was sinking birdie putts on his last two holes to take the lead. The second one came after he hit a 9-iron about 10 feet from the hole.
“I’ve struggled with hitting the ball left when I swing at something hard, and to swing hard and hold it on line gave me confidence. To make that putt gave me confidence going into the weekend.”
He also has confidence from his only previous start here, which came on a sponsor’s exemption. Reed said he found out about the sponsor’s exemption arriving for a Web.com tournament in Wichita and then drove straight through to Augusta, Ga., where he met his agent at 6 in the morning for the rest of the journey here.
Reed shot 66-68 in the first two rounds that weekend to make his first cut in a PGA event. He went on to finish in a tie for 66th.
“I didn’t get a lot of sleep,” he said of the overnight trip. “I was shocked how well I played.”
That experience was the reason he targeted a return to the Wyndham.
“That’s why I love this event,” Reed said. “To make my first cut and kind of see what it’s like during the weekend, it kind of set it up when I went out and made the cut in the first PGA event I played last year.”
That was after his wife said she wanted to be his caddie. He gave her a tryout on a 100-degree day during Monday qualifying in Houston.
“I packed (the bag) with two water bottles and all my rain gear, everything for a nasty weather day, to see if she could do it,” Reed said. “I struggled to get through the last two holes but she did just fine. We just seemed to click.
“I told her to read putts and she has a knack for reading greens, and being my wife, she’s always around when I’m practicing. It’s like she’s my coach. She knows if my swing is out of whack, she can fix it.”
Reed played well enough to earn his Tour card through qualifying school last fall, shooting 5–under on the last day. He has posted four top-10 finishes, made 13 cuts in 22 tournaments before this week, and has a spot in the Tour playoffs by sitting 78th in points. He tied for the lead after two rounds in the John Deere but faded to a tie for seventh at the finish.
“We’ve been working hard to fine-tune everything,” Reed said.
Huh, who posted one victory and was named the Tour’s rookie of the year last year, shot 31 on each side. Like Reed, he birdied his last two holes to move ahead of Spieth.
Huh thought he might shoot a 64 but not a 62.
“I’ve been driving the ball great since The Masters,” Huh said. “I finally made some putts today and was able to capitalize, and that’s about it.”