Playoff pays off for Reed once again
Claims fourth PGA TOUR win on first extra hole at Hyundai Tournament of Champions
January 12, 2015
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed celebrates after draining the winning putt to defeat Jimmy Walker in a playoff. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
KAPALUA, Hawaii — Patrick Reed doesn’t actually remember ever losing a playoff.
“It’s been a while, for sure,” he said after thinking about the question.
The man who is turning into one of the toughest competitors on the planet improved his PGA TOUR playoff record to 2-0 Monday with a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Reed defeated Jimmy Walker in a playoff to become just the fourth player in the past 20 years to reach four wins before age 25. The others? Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.
“I think it's just because I'm stubborn. I don't really care,” he said about his early success. “I go out there and just kind of focus on my golf game, and I don't really care what anyone else is doing or however anyone else hits the shot. I just know how I can do it, and you know, what works for me and what makes me allows it to be more consistent under pressure.”
The shot of the tournament came at the 16th hole when Reed, four down at the time, holed out from 80 yards for eagle. After Reed made birdie at No. 18 to get to 21 under, Walker left short a 16-foot birdie putt that would have won the tournament outright.
“As soon as we saw that opening,” said caddie and brother-in-law Kessler Karain, “I told him, ‘Hey man, you’ve got the keys to the car now. Let’s go take it for a ride.’ ”
Reed has only had one other top-five finish since his win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, but the victory puts him well on his way to accomplishing at least a few of his goals for 2015.
“One of them is a multi-win year,” he said. “And it's just to make that percentage of top 10s better. It just seems like last year I had I either played really, really well or I didn't really play very well. And it's just to get that consistency better, and those are just things that we're working on.”
Although Reed led the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green, he said he didn’t feel like he had his A-game this week, making the win all the more satisfying.
“Golf-wise, I didn’t feel like it was really there,” he said “I felt like today the driver was coming around, and the irons were decent. But you know, the reason why I was able to pull it off is mentally and the course management and the work with Kessler and everything was just so good this week that, you know, I was able to have a chance.”
Final from Kapalua: 1. Reed, -21 2. Walker, -21 T3. Day, -20 T3. Henley, -20 T3. Matsuyama, -20 pic.twitter.com/K8CKn2Rh6R— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 13, 2015
KIRK GOES LOW SOLO: Bill Harke wears a FitBit pedometer when he’s out caddying for Chris Kirk. The amount of steps he takes on a given day is a pretty good indicator of how Kirk is hitting the ball.
During Sunday’s 73, Harke walked 9.1 miles around Kapalua’s Plantation Course. Monday, he walked 7.7 miles. That’s what happens when your boss only needs 62 shots to get it around.
Starting the day in last place in the 33-man field, Kirk played by himself Monday morning, finishing in 2 hours and 48 minutes and making 11 birdies along the way to tie the course record.
“In the past when I’ve been first off by myself, I haven’t really enjoyed it,” Kirk said. “Especially if you’re not playing great because it’s always your turn. Sometimes you just want to sit there for a minute and stare off into space and gather yourself. But when you’re playing like I was today, it’s nice when it’s always your turn.”
Kirk said his game has felt rusty all week after a long layoff and an injury to his left hand. Things finally clicked back into place Monday, one day after he switched to a new putter (a custom Odyssey No. 7 with a welded neck) and the claw-style putting grip that he used in college.
“It’s something that I’ve been practicing with for probably six months, but I hadn’t put it in play until yesterday,” Kirk said. “I putted really well last year to be honest, but there were just too many times when I didn’t feel like I was starting the club on-line.
“Really what it does for me is that I have a tendency to get a little bit lazy and my hands get a little bit too low at address. When that happens I’ll pull a lot of putts.”
Kirk will now head to Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, where he finished second in 2014 and T5 in 2013.
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO: Kirk’s 62 didn’t even end up being the low round of the day. Jason Day turned in a matching 62 just a few hours later.
“Apparently it's pretty easy to do around here,” Day joked about joining Kirk in tying the course record.
Day started the day eight shots off the lead thanks to a balky putter that had been concerning him all week.
“I was just talking to (wife Ellie) last night because I was stressing and I was just thinking about my putts. Why am I not holing putts?” he said. “But today I really didn't have any nerves or anything like that because I was so far behind the lead. So I was just kind of on autopilot and it felt great.”
Day will now take some positive vibes into next week’s Sony Open at Waialae Country Club, where he hasn’t played since 2011.
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Thanks to my family, friends, sponsors and fans for all your support! What a great way to start the season!— Patrick Reed (@PReedGolf) January 13, 2015
In the last 20 years, these are the players who earned 4 wins before 25: - Tiger - Rory - Sergio - Patrick Reed pic.twitter.com/h3vsGCMW7q— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 13, 2015
CALL OF THE DAY
Fred Albers calls Patrick Reed's birdie on the first playoff hole to win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Category Round 4 leader Stat Weekly leader Stat Strokes gained: tee-to-green Chris Kirk 3.825 Patrick Reed
1.992 Driving distance Bubba Watson 310.5 Bubba Watson 300.6 Driving accuracy Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed 94.44% Zach Johnson 88.33% Greens in regulation Steven Bowditch, Jason Day, Russell Henley
100% Sang-Moon Bae 90.28% Strokes gained: putting
4.300 Zach Johnson
1.330 Putts per round Chris Kirk
23 Matt Every, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar
28.25 Total birdies
Jason Day, Chris Kirk
11 Jason Day, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk
ODDS AND ENDS
Of Patrick Reed’s four wins, this is the first one that has come in come-from-behind fashion. He was the 54-hole leader or co-leader at the other three. … In four starts this season, Jimmy Walker has two top-five finishes: A runner-up Monday and a T4 finish at the Shriners Hospitals for Children. … Russell Henley birdied his final five holes to finish one shot out of a playoff at 20 under. A year ago, he failed to break 70 in any round. … Hideki Matsuyama was the only first-timer to finish in the top five.