Reed to make yet another PGA Tour start

Patrick Reed hits to the 15th green during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Patrick Reed continues to find his way into PGA Tour events. Reed doesn’t have a Tour card, but will be making his fourth start in five weeks at this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. He won the Nelson’s Monday qualifier by three shots with a 64 at Lantana (Texas) Golf Club.

The 21-year-old, a first-team All-American last year at Augusta State, has been successful in three consecutive Monday qualifiers. He previously earned spots in the Zurich Classic (T-24) and Wells Fargo Championship (T-32). Last week’s Players Championship was the only event Reed sat out in the past five weeks. He preceded the Zurich by finishing 35th at the Valero Texas Open; Reed was pulled off the course during the Texas Open’s qualifier after being given an eleventh-hour sponsor exemption.

His run can best be described as impressive and improbable. Monday qualifiers offer just four spots into each week’s PGA Tour event. Seventy-one players participated in this week’s qualifier. Players usually don’t attempt more than a few per year because of the long odds against advancing.

“He loves that environment, the you-against-me mentality,” said Reed’s college coach, Josh Gregory.

Reed has earned $116,205 during this PGA Tour season. He will earn a 2013 PGA Tour card if he can finish in the top 125 on this year’s money list; it took $668,166 to finish 125th on last year’s money list. A spot in the top 150 would earn him an exemption into Q-School finals, and a top-200 finish on the money list would merit Nationwide Tour status for next season. It took $169,973 to finish 200th on the 2011 money list.

Reed made news at the Wells Fargo Championship, where his first-round 66 had him one shot off the lead. His success in Charlotte came after a hectic stretch. After the Texas Open, he made the nine-hour drive from San Antonio to New Orleans with his fiancee, Justine Karain. They arrived at 2:45 a.m., sleeping four hours before the Zurich Classic’s Monday qualifier. An 8-iron to 2 feet on the second playoff hole earned him a second consecutive start. He birdied five of his final eight holes at TPC Louisiana to tie for 24th.

The pair – Karain, a former high-school golfer, caddies for Reed – took a circuitous route to the Wells Fargo Championship. Their first flight went from New Orleans to Chicago’s Midway International Airport. The next one landed in Greenville, S.C., some 90 minutes from Charlotte. They arrived at the hotel at about 1:15 a.m. Monday, with another Monday qualifying round awaiting. He shot 65 to earn his spot at Quail Hollow.

Reed’s success likely will make him a candidate for sponsor exemptions into upcoming PGA Tour events. He’s allowed to receive six additional invitations this year. He received sponsor exemptions into last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic (missed cut), Wyndham Championship (T-66) and Frys.com Open (T-75).

Reed did fall short in one recent qualifier. He failed to advance through U.S. Open local qualifying May 8, two days after the Wells Fargo Championship. His 67 at New Orleans’ Lakewood Golf Club left him as the second alternate. That’s just a slight misstep in an otherwise impressive stretch.

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