Reed teams with caddie-wife for Wyndham leadWith his wife Justine on the bag, Patrick Reed is leading the Wyndham Championship.August 16, 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- If Patrick Reed goes on to turn the second-round lead into victory at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday afternoon, his wife Justine won't be hard for the TV cameras to find among the crowd at the 18th hole.
She'll be the one with the caddie bib on.
Justine has been toting Reed's clubs for a little over 18 months now. She's the one who was usually behind the wheel so her husband could sleep when they drove through the night to yet another Monday qualifier. She handed him clubs when he made it through the PGA TOUR qualifying school last fall, too.
And Justine did at least as many interviews as Reed on Friday after that round of 64 propelled him to the top of the Wyndham Championship leaderboard at 11 under. Not that he minded, though.
"Less attention for me means I can just focus more on my game," Reed said.
Reed's game was pretty darn good on Friday, too. He didn't find a ton of fairways but he hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation for the second straight day to lead the field. He ranks second in strokes gained-putting and tied for first in the distance of the putts he made.
In two rounds at Sedgefield, Reed has only made one bogey -- on the fourth hole he played on Thursday. He made six birdies in the second round, including three over his last five holes, rolling in putts of 14, 12, 16, 5, 4 and 10 feet to shoot the 64.
"The greens are perfect," Reed said. "They're very true. They're firm and extremely fast -- everything that I like. ... I hit the ball high so it kind of gives me a little bit more of an advantage, as well as I grew up on fast greens. To be able to putt on really fast greens like this, it's a treat."
Justine often helps her husband read putts since "she has a knack," Reed says. She played golf in high school but was majoring in health administration and nursing when her sister introduced her to Reed. Shortly before he went on that Monday qualifying tear last year -- successfully playing his way into six TOUR events -- Justine decided she wanted to caddie for the man she would marry that December.
So Reed, who led Augusta State to two NCAA titles, put her to the test one day in Houston.
"Probably about 100 to 105 and humid," he recalled. "I packed it up with two full water bottles, all the rain gear and just everything for a nasty weather day. We got to see if you can do it. That day I struggled to get through the last two holes but she was fine. Just seemed to click."
Justine smiles when reminded of that day.
"It had so much stuff in that bag," she said, shaking her head. "I thought I could carry it but I knew he wanted to test me, for sure. But he met his match. He carried the bag one time for nine holes and I thought he would tap out."
When Justine stands next to Reed's bag, the head cover on the driver is almost level with her shoulder. She's so petite you wouldn't be surprised if the bag weighed more than she did but Justine says, "I double it, for sure."
When Reed sees his instructor Kevin Kirk back home in Texas, Justine is with them on the range. She knows what they are working on so "it's basically like my coach being out there with me," Reed said. "She knows just as much about the golf swing. She knows why I hit it left or right or anything like that so I mean if ever I get out of whack she can fix me immediately."
"I think that has helped us tremendously so I can just be an extra eye for him while he's out there," Justine agreed. "Also, two heads is often better than one."
That said, Justine admits they are not always of the same mind when it comes to club selection or what kind of shot to hit. But she can't remember a time when the two were completely at odds.
"He respects my opinion," Justine said. "To be honest it's really not that delicate. When it comes down to a shot, I'll give him my opinion and if he likes it he'll go with it. If he thinks otherwise, we'll talk about it and sometimes I don't worry about right or wrong. I just go with our best foot forward."
Justine acknowledges that it can sometimes be difficult to keep the game separate from their personal life. Other times, though, it's really easy.
"If we've had a tough round maybe we'll talk about it more when we come home," she said. "Other times it's just relax, eat a good meal and watch a good movie."
Friday evening was probably one of the easy days for Reed and his caddie-wife.
"He's playing great," Justine said. "I'm really proud of him. We've just got to hold on and go along for the ride on the weekend and see what happens."
Reed, who came to Greensboro ranked 78th in the FedExCup standings, agreed.
"We've been working extremely hard trying to fine-tune everything and I feel like lately with how I've been hitting the ball and how I've been putting just seems all to be clicking," he said. "I just need to put four rounds together and hopefully that's this week."