Patrick Reed loves himself a brawl, and while he avoided the one that nearly took place off the course, he came out on top of the one that happened at Liberty National Golf Club on Sunday afternoon. Reed won the Northern Trust for the second time in four years by shooting a 2-under 69 to finish at 16 under and beat Abraham Ancer by one stroke. Reed now takes over second place in the FedEx Cup standings behind Brooks Koepka.
It got a little wobbly off the top for Reed as he made three bogeys in his first six holes. But he didn't make another one the entire day on a course that got firm and fast as the day went on. These types of tracks normally reveal the best ball-strikers in the field, and Reed finished No. 4 in that category this week. It's not a place he lives (he's 47th on the PGA Tour this season), but when he's up there, he's a nasty out.
The most obvious example of Reed's tremendous ball-striking this week came on the par-3 14th hole where he took on a tucked pin used the back bank to scoot his tee shot to 8 feet before burying the birdie putt to get to 14 under. It was not a shot somebody out of control of his irons could hit.
Among Patrick Reed’s par-saving putts today: From 8, 5, 5, 5 and 10 feet.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) August 11, 2019
Reed closed the way he loves to close: with some swag. With a one-stroke lead on the 18th hole, Reed borderline ran after his cutting tee shot -- a tee shot that would eventually lead to his seventh PGA Tour win.
This is a time in the season and a locale where he feels comfortable. He won this event back when it was the Barclays in 2016 at Bethpage Black (also in New York), but prefers toiling in the shadow of Lady Liberty.
"It's amazing," Reed told CBS Sports' Amanda Balionis. "Just to be back and to feel like I've been playing some solid golf and to finally have it pay off. It's been a while. It's been a little too long, honestly. What better place to do it than here. We have the Statue of Liberty in the background, Presidents Cup in 2017. Hearing Captain America and USA all week, it was definitely a good time to get a W."
This is Reed's first victory since taking the 2018 Masters, but it's the logical ending to a game that has been steadily improving for the last few months. It seems unlikely that we'll have to wait another 15 months before hearing from Reed in this way again, and I should note that I'm sure Reed is aware of. In six of the last seven seasons, one golfer has won multiple FedEx Cup Playoff events. If Reed does that, he could be on his way to the grandiose $15 million prize at the Tour Championship in two weeks. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Northern Trust.
Jordan Spieth (T6): Does Spieth's 67-64-74-67 week make any sense? Of course not. Just like his 2018-19 season. Spieth lost nearly two strokes to the field from tee to green on Sunday, and somehow managed a 67 because he gained over five with his putter. It remains a bummer for him that he's letting all these all-time putting performances (he finished second this week) go by the wayside. He's now gained an average of 1.5 (!) strokes per round on the field with his putter in six different events and has just three top 10s to show for it (and two cuts!). Grade: A
Bryson DeChambeau (T24): He got more attention than anyone this week, even the eventual winner. None of it was all that good, though, and he finally. The primary topic, of course, has been slow play, and DeChambeau is a (if not the) poster boy. After Saturday, he went looking for a four-time major champ (mentioned below) on Sunday (probably some questionable decision-making there). The great humor in all of this is that, at some point, , and DeChambeau will no doubt take credit for engendering it. Still, his inability to accept any blame or formulate even a sentence resembling humility isn't worthy of any kind of good grade. Grade: D
Brooks Koepka (T30): Forget about where he finished, Koepka did his best to tackle slow play head on this week. First, with some comments early in the week about how things need to change, and then after Le Artist came looking for him before Round 4. Koepka went and apparently talked slow play to his face instead of behind a phone app. Not the hero we deserve, but definitely the one we're here for. Grade: A-
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