In sports, they say it’s not always how you start, but how you finish. If he didn’t believe it before today, you know that Patrick Reed believes it now as he took the Wyndham Championship with a playoff win over Jordan Spieth.
To start 2013, Reed missed eight cuts in his first 13 starts, including four straight between March and early April. Of course, for a player who found his way into six PGA Tour events in 2012 by playing in Monday qualifiers, it’s no surprise that those particular trials didn’t throw him off for long.
The summer had been mostly good to Reed as he kicked off June with a fifth-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, his best finish on Tour to date. He had also put together back-to-back top-10 coming into this week. Those types of results will have any golf grinder feeling like they’re on cloud nine.
At one point on Sunday, Reed had stretched his lead out to three strokes on a crowded leaderboard at Sedgefield Country Club. However, it wasn’t an easy finish, as Spieth birdied four of his final seven holes to force the playoff.
On the first playoff hole, Spieth found himself in trouble off the tee, but moved on to a second hole after Reed missed a birdie attempt from just seven feet. The roles were reversed on the second hole, the par-4 10th.
When Reed nearly hit his drive out of bounds, it looked for all the world like Spieth would be able to play for par and earn his second win of the year, but that’s when the grinder in Reed came out again. With nothing to lose, he hit one of the best shots imaginable, a perfect 7-iron to about seven feet.
Spieth missed, Reed did not. The year of first-time winners continued. “It was the best shot of my life, that’s for sure,” Reed said after the win. “Just to get my first win means everything to me.”
Reed’s win can be attributed to the fact that he hit 60 of 72 greens in regulation. Giving himself looks nearly every time, he made 21 birdies, second-most in the field. That’s the type of performance that will lead to even more confidence as the playoffs start at The Barclays next week. After fighting just to earn his first win and make the playoffs for the first time, Reed won’t back down from that moment.