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May 3 2012

9:07 PM

Three weeks give Reed big boost

Interview: Patrick Reed

Following his opening-round 66, Patrick Reed talks with Tome Werme from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- His butt is “getting flatter" from all that inter-state driving. He's sleep-deprived, too.

But Patrick Reed is right where he wants to be -- playing in his third straight event on the PGA TOUR. Even better, the former Augusta State standout is tied for third, two shots off the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship after shooting a first-round 66.

Reed's three-week odyssey began at the Valero Texas Open. He played in the pre-qualifier and was three holes into the Monday qualifier when tournament officials came out and told him he had a sponsor's exemption. Reed took full advantage, too, tying for 35th that week.

When he finished his final round in Texas, Reed and his fiancee, Justine Karain, who doubles as his caddy, got in the car and drove to New Orleans. They arrived at 2:45 a.m. and he got four hours sleep before teeing it up in that Monday qualifier -- where he hit an 8-iron to 2 feet on the second playoff hole to earn his spot.

Reed then tied for 24th at TPC Louisiana, closing with a 67 that included five birdies in his last nine holes. This time, his agents splurged and got the couple an airline ticket but he still had to Monday qualify -- shooting a 65 that included a birdie on the final hole.

"Luckily she read the putt correctly on 18 because ... I thought it was breaking left and she said it was breaking right," Reed said. "I wasn't making a lot that day, so I went with her read and read it dead center, and here I am sitting here. If not I would have had an 11-man playoff for three spots."

That wasn't the first time Karain, who played high school golf, proved her worth as a caddy, either. Reed said she read a 12-footer at the 18th hole on Friday at TPC Louisiana and "the next thing you know I was able to play the weekend." The two appear to work very well together.

"She's so positive and just with the whole thing," Reed said. "I get to spend time with her, and with her being so positive, just our team is amazing because if I hit a couple bad shots I'll start to get down on myself and she'll pick me right up immediately and won't allow me to self-sabotage my round or any hole."

Reed, who helped lead Augusta State to two national championships, says he's been growing more and more confident each week. He hit 7 of 14 fairways and all but four greens in regulation on Thursday while using just 26 putts.

"The confidence is definitely there, and I feel like the confidence has been building week after week just because I'm improving every day," Reed said. "First PGA TOUR event, finished 35th; last week I finished 24th. But how I had to do it last week, I had to shoot 5 under the last eight holes. So I mean, just the solid play has been going on and just solid play today.

"It just feels like if I keep working on my golf game, keep improving on my golf game, I can play out here. This tournament especially, just seems like the field has gotten better and better as the week has gone on. Last week I had Bubba, Luke, I had to deal with those guys. This week I have Tiger, Phil, Rory, Westwood. You're sitting here just like, okay, just week after week getting better.
   
"Can't wait until the next PGA TOUR event.  Feels like I'm going to have 64 of the top 64 players are going to be there. So I mean, it's just building confidence and also just building my comfort level, able to see those guys and playing against those guys."

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