Reed, Spieth feed off each other at Kapalua
January 07, 2016
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Reed played his final six holes in 6 under Thursday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- A few observations following Thursday’s opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Patrick Reed shot 8-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Jordan Spieth. For more on all the action, click here to read the Daily Wrap-up.
1. New year, same story. No one has played better over the last few months than Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Spieth has finished first, seventh, second and fourth in his last four starts. Reed has finished third, 10th, seventh, second, 10th and second in his last six.
Thursday on the Plantation Course looked simply like a continuation.
Playing alongside one another in the day’s final pairing, Spieth made seven birdies and Reed six plus an eagle on the par-5 18th, reaching the 663-yard finishing hole in two before rolling in a 17-footer.
“Calendar may have changed, but (I’m) only off of a short break,” Spieth said. “My play should stay the same in my mind.
“The reason I say I feel like I want it to be a continuation is just because any time it's not, any time it's mentioned that it's a new year, it's almost, the questions that are asked are, 'How in the world are you going to do what you did last season?' … So it almost feels like it's negative to think about it as trying to create an encore or to just stay in a rhythm and that's exactly what it felt like today.”
Reed echoed similar thoughts.
“(It) didn't really feel like I had a break,” he said. “I only took 10 days off and honestly, I'm kind of one of those guys that if I take four days off I'm itching to get back at it.”
QUOTE OF THE DAYIt just seems like maybe we just want to beat each other so bad, it actually brings out the best in us.
2. Back-nine barrage. Most of Reed’s damage came on the back nine, despite the front playing more than a full stroke easier.
Through his first eight holes, Reed was just 2 under. He birdied Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 17 before slinging his drive 325 yards on the downhill 18th and reaching the green with a 3-wood to set up the closing eagle.
"Honestly, I didn't think I could get it all the way to the green," said Reed of his 309-yard approach into No. 18. "I thought if I smoked it, I'd get to the front edge and it just happened to ride the wind a little bit and kind of just keep on going.
"Once it gets on that green I know it's going to just keep feeding. I left myself really a pretty basic straight uphill putt, breaking maybe a cup.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Patrick Reed’s incredible approach is the Shot of the Day
3. Snedeker playing sick. Brandt Snedeker is battling a cold, is without his caddie, Scott Vail, who is recovering from foot surgery, and coming off rounds of 84-75 in his last start, in December in Australia.
None of it mattered. A trip to paradise has been a welcome elixir.
Snedeker ripped off six birdies, including three in a row in the middle of his back nine, en route to a 6-under 67.
It helped that he has been in Maui for over a week and played four rounds on the Plantation Course before the tournament even began.
“There's a level of comfort, I know the golf course pretty well and I think getting over here early, the greens always pose a big problem,” he said. “You get comfortable on greens and be aggressive on putts that you know are fast or slow.”
A few sessions with coach Butch Harmon after struggling Down Under paid off, too. It was the kind of bounce-back he wouldn’t have had earlier in his career.
“You're going to have bad breaks out here, going to have bad stuff happen,” Snedeker said. “You've got to be able to get over that really quickly and move on and learn from it. Not forget it, but learn from it.”
4. Cold cure for Harrington. Padraig Harrington is playing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the first time -- in part because he had nine weeks off at the end of last year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
It didn’t seem to bother him Thursday. He shot 70.
Harrington was able to recover from the surgery and endure the hilly Plantation Course in part thanks to undergoing cryotherapy treatment.
“I did about 20 sessions in the 12 days after my operation,” he said. “I do six minutes at minus-140 (minus-284 degrees Fahrenheit) because I'm used to it. So, that's a pretty long time. Most guys are at three minutes.
“It's like taking a cold bath. You know what? You go into an ice bath, it will do the job just as nice. But I don't like an ice bath. I find that quite -- I find the cold air quite easy on me. It goes from the inside out, whereas an ice bath is on your skin. And I can go in there for six minutes and you wouldn't see me take a cold shower.”
5. Thomas would still take being on winning Ryder Cup team over major in 2016. Much was made about Justin Thomas’ comments earlier in the week that he’d rather be on a winning U.S. Ryder Cup team this year than win a major. He was just answering the question asked, and it was about this year.
Thomas’ point was that he has en entire career ahead of him. Thursday, he reiterated that point.
“If it was a career, obviously that changes things,” said Thomas following an opening-round 70. “But it's this year and I still stick with what I said, because I feel like if I make the Ryder Cup team I had a really good or a great year and at least winning one more time, if not a couple more times. So I stick with that. But, obviously, the main goal is to do both, but that wasn't an option in the question.”
CALL OF THE DAY
Patrick Reed closes with an eagle on No. 18 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Free play-by-play coverage of the second round streams from 5-10 p.m. ET Friday on PGATOUR.COM.
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The fastest 663-yard dash you'll ever see. The 18th at Kapalua. pic.twitter.com/t3rUkx7WuC— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 8, 2016