Patrick Reed started this week at the Valero Texas Open essentially blaming his equipment for his lack of a top-10 finish since the beginning of January. Then he vowed that it was fixed and he should start playing better.

"Lies and lofts were off on the irons two to two and a half degrees, which is a lot," Reed said. "Because of that, it was making me have to alter my golf swing to get the golf ball to go straight. When I was swinging well, all of a sudden I would look up and the ball is long and left. Consistently I'm, 'What is it, is it me, what's going on?'

"When you're on the road as much as you are you always think it's you, it's not the equipment, you know. I hate using that as an excuse, no, it wasn't me, the irons weren't set up where they needed to be ... but this was probably the one time that I could actually say my equipment wasn't set up how it's supposed to be for me."

So no excuses now, right? According to his 69 in the first round in San Antonio, right. Reed trails leader Branden Grace by three, and it could have been even better. Reed made four straight birdies on his front nine on Thursday before closing with a pair of bogeys at the end.

"Anytime you come out here you start out shooting in the 60s in any tournament you start at, you got to be happy," Reed said. "But I need to take positives from today and kind of forget the last three holes because really only felt like I missed the one golf shot and walked off 2 over par on the last one."

He reiterated that he's good to go with most of his clubs, but there is still one that's bothering him.

"It's a fresh wedge, and the one I was using before ... wasn't having any bite on it, too many shots that would ride on the face and kind of non-react how I wanted to," Reed said. "So I love my new wedge. I'm able to actually hit the normal shots and get it to check and trickle out. It's just, you know, under the gun first time using it there's a couple shots out there that even though I only had two bogeys I made some putts to kind of save chips that should have been perfect ended up 5, 5 feet, 6 feet away. 

"I feel like 13 clubs in my golf bag are exactly where they need to be, very comfortable, feel like I can do whatever I need to with them. The only thing is the reason why I don't say 14 because the new wedge I put in this week I'm very comfortable with it, I love the way it reacts in the bunker and full swings, on short swings and chips around the greens. I just need to get used to that that I can actually fly it a little farther because it actually does spin."

To his point, Reed finished outside the top 100 in strokes gained around the green on Thursday.

Reed has obviously had a terrific early part of his career. He already has five wins and won as recently as last August. But after a Ryder Cup last fall in which his star seemed to leap up a level, the last four months have been a bit of a disappointment.

I don't know if that's equipment-related or fatigue-related (Reed also noted this week the he dealt with kidney stones at the first part of this season). I do know that Reed has a good opportunity to follow up what he did last year at this tournament (finish runner up) and get rolling in 2017. The club change will help his confidence, but playing better will help it even more.