GREENSBORO, N.C. — Patrick Reed hit what he called the “shot of his life,” a punched three-quarter 7-iron from the trees to 7 feet on the second playoff hole to help win his first PGA Tour title.
Reed’s tee shot at the par-4 10th hole sailed right into the trees and was believed to have landed on the wrong side of the out-of-bounds stakes.
“When I got the OB sign, my heart sunk,” he said.
Reed looked at his wife and caddie, Justine, and thought, “I let my family down.”
Moments later, he got a reprieve when three volunteers rushed into the fairway and flashed the safe sign.
Reed’s ball rested against a TV cable so he was allowed to drop it. How was the lie? It wasn’t pretty.
“Little bit of dirt, couple pieces of grass, twigs, couple of spiders. Basically anything you’d find in a wilderness,” he said. “Basically felt like I was back playing T-ball. The ball was so far above my feet that it almost felt like I was taking a baseball swing.”
Reed, who likes to play a draw, couldn’t start the shot out to the right because of trees. He couldn’t see the flag. He had to hit the shot he dreads most. He had to hit it dead straight.
To make matter worse, Jordan Spieth had planted his second shot 12 feet from the hole.
“I knew from the roar that he got it on the top level (of the green),” Reed said.
Then Reed summoned the great shot he needed to extricate himself from trouble.
Here’s how Spieth described it: “I’m up at the green, see his shot and as it keeps on gliding in the air, I thought ‘Maybe the way he hit it, it would come down short.’ It kept on going in the air. ‘Wow, that looks really good.’ I was up next to the green. It hit right there and stopped right at the crest of the hill 7 feet away. It was one of the best shots I’ve ever witnessed.”
He’ll get no argument from Reed, who said repeatedly, “It was the best shot of my life, that’s for sure.”
When Spieth’s 12-foot birdie try burned the right edge of the hole, Reed had another putt for the win.
“Seven feet felt like 40,” he said.
He buried it, punched the air in ecstasy and celebrated by kissing Justine.
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2. SEE THAT, FREDDIE? At the outset of 2013, Jordan Spieth was simply trying to do enough to secure a PGA Tour card by accepting a handful of sponsor exemptions and then potentially picking up some Web.com Tour starts.
That’s ancient history. Now, the 20-year-old is making quite a case for Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples to add the former Texas standout to the U.S. squad in October.
Spieth has a victory (John Deere Classic), two second-place finishes and seven top-10 performances in just 19 starts. Coming into the Wyndham, Spieth had won more than $2 million this season, and is now projected to be eighth in the season-long FedEx Cup standings.
Spieth showed resolve Sunday, sitting as many as three shots back during the back nine – only to force extra holes behind four birdies during his final six holes. He’d also drain a 26-footer for par on the first playoff hole to force Reed to earn it with a birdie on No. 10.
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3. FEDEX FURY: David Toms did all he could Sunday with a tournament-best, 8-under 62. But the veteran will be on the outside looking in at the FedEx Cup playoffs after finishing in a projected 138th place in the standings.
Robert Streb will hold the title of the “worst-position-in-golf” for this season, finishing in a projected 126th – a single spot out of the playoffs. Streb fired a 1-under 69 Sunday to fall six places in the tournament standings. He was 133rd in the FedEx coming into the week.
Other notables who will miss the playoffs: Peter Hanson (No. 127), Bud Cauley (No. 131), Ricky Barnes (No. 132), Tommy Gainey (No. 140), Ryo Ishikawa (No. 141), Trevor Immelman (No. 143) and Vijay Singh (No. 146).
Those who will be sticking around by the skin of their teeth: Scott Langley who fell from No. 121 to No. 124 after missing the cut; and Stuart Appleby, who remained at No. 123 with a T-45 finish at 2 under.
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4. JAPAN’S FINEST: Hideki Matsuyama is quietly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the worldwide golf scene.
After opening his season with a missed cut at the Sony Open in January, Matsuyama has posted a T-10 at the U.S. Open, a T-6 at the Open Championship, a T-16 at the RBC Canadian, a T-21 at the WGC-Bridgestone and a T-19 at the PGA Championship.
And the 21-year-old’s solid play didn’t stop this week, finishing 15th behind a 4-under 66 jn the final round.
Matsuyama has won twice on the Japan Golf Tour this season, as well as finishing as low amateur at the Masters in 2011 and 2012.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Zach Johnson continues to knock on the door in 2013, but a 2-under 68 Sunday left him three shots behind Reed and Spieth. Johnson came up short against Spieth in a playoff at the John Deere Classic. . . . Rory Sabbatini is quietly putting together a solid 2013 campaign, picking up his fifth top-10 finish with a T-8 at Wyndham, including a 5-under 65 Sunday. . . . Robert Garrigus, who held a share of the lead at the PGA Championship last week, posted four rounds in the 60s in Greensboro for a T-11 finish at 9 under.
— Nick Masuda contributed to this report