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Reed all about the win
So, the guy who looks like Flounder from “Animal House” but has the calm of Dexter and (over?) confidence of Jack Bauer from “24” — Patrick Reed — took the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral with a start-to-finish lead.
The 23-year-old, whose now won three of his last 14 tournaments, irked some of golf’s old guard with his I-belong-among-the-best comments after his well-deserved win.
Reed did close out The Donald’s audacious newly revamped Blue Monster (The large greens did look like fun, though. The additional 5,000 trees and all that sand? Not so much.) with an even-par 72. But Doral was not as close as it may have seemed as he gave up little ground on the four-shot lead he held going into the turn.
After, Reed made a kinda odd, and apparently well-rehearsed argument for why he should be considered a top-five player in the world.
He rattled off how he led all the way, his college stats, taking Augusta State to two NCAA titles and winning on the amateur tour and now in the PGA.
“I don’t see a lot of guys that have done that besides Tiger Woods and the legends of the game,” said Reed, who also donned a red shirt and black pants.
To be fair, Reed also said he had to believe in himself. It’s the PGA, after all, and he was in the best field of year with all of the top-50 players in Miami.
Reed built up a big lead on the front with a bunch of birdies. He held onto a one-shot lead by playing it smart, composed and conservative over Bubba Watson, who finished the clubhouse leader and had a 68 on the day, and an aggressive Jamie Donaldson. Reed laid up his shot, for instance, on the nasty 18th.
Tiger Woods, the 2013 Doral champ, played his way into contention on Sunday, three shots behind Reed. But then his bad back clearly started to flare up at about Hole 6 as he grimaced and gutted his way to completion. The question kept being asked Sunday was if Woods will be healthy for the Masters in a month.
On Sunday both Watson and Donaldson pushed to put themselves into contention, with Watson launching one his final shots into the stands. Donaldson, though, missed key birdie and par puts and finished with a 70.
Of course, playing 6 under for much of Sunday, Reed didn’t have to try and launch his drive over the Great Lake called a water hazard, on the last hole of the bunker-overkill back nine.
All that white sand did make for some exciting television. But at times it felt like scenes of terrific wedge swings 2 inches behind the ball on a few feet from the cup were on a loop. Reed had to save par three times from those bunkers. And the greens started to look they were gathering snow.
Yes, it was sort of an ugly tournament. For instance, Reed’s 284 was the highest-winning score at Doral since 1985.
With Reed seemingly only rattled when he bogeyed No. 14. And he competitors tried to take advantage then. But he quickly retained form and maintained his par pace.
Arguably then the most interesting part of the day was the new pgatour.com Watson donut commercial.
It was fun to watch Dustin Johnson just grip it and rip it. DJ looked to be putting it together, too, almost as well as girlfriend Paulina Gretzky. Maybe he was just in a rush to get home. I do not blame him.
Johnson then just couldn’t sustain his frantic pace — like others — he plugged bunkers, dunked in water hazards or came up short on greens. At least, he won’t have to wallow alone in self pity.
Still, Johnson finished tied for fourth with Richard Sterne. It was entertaining just to watch guys go for it rather than several of the pros who played it safe clearly just to stay in the money.
Maybe Reed has a point. Not top five and not in great taste. But probably not No. 20 either during a season when no one wants to win week to week.
Most likely Flounder will stay ranked No. 20 after Sunday, and not displace Woods, Michelson, Adam Scott, Jason Day or Henrik Stenson.
Then again, the Texan did take home the flower vase Doral calls a trophy, more than a $1 million and wife Justine. (How’d he land her before he was a rich pro golfer? He must have an excellent personality. They also say women do love a confidant man. Reed’s onto something.)
And Reed will have plenty of chances to back up his words — and soon — with key events such as Valspar and Arnold Palmer in the next two weeks, and then it’s The Masters soon.