Patrick Reed outduels Jordan Spieth to advance at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

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Patrick Reed outduels Jordan Spieth to advance at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

PGA Tour

Patrick Reed outduels Jordan Spieth to advance at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas – Like any overhyped match, the Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed showdown Friday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play seemed almost immediately destined for the trash heap of disappointing sports confrontations.

“I thought I rebounded nicely after it kind of looked like a round of 90 or 92 through the first few holes,” Spieth said moments after a 2-and-1 loss where he hung around without his best game.

A closer inspection indicates a tougher battle than might have seemed apparent thanks to a pair of combative grinders who clearly enjoy beating each other despite eight combined wins as Presidents and Ryder Cup partners.

Reed eventually delivered the final blow with a 40-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole.

“I’m sitting there thinking two putts to win the match,” Reed said. “Just happened to be the perfect line. Thank God because that thing was moving.”

Reed controlled the match early, holding 2-up leads after two holes and again after eight. But Spieth birdied Austin Country Club’s ninth and 10th to get back to all square.

“Those two wedge shots he hit on nine and 10, I felt like the momentum switched his way,” Reed said. “To go ahead and win 11 and to kind of capitalize on 13 like that, I felt like from that point on all the momentum was in my favor.”

Spieth’s ballstriking let him down in brutal fashion with an out of bounds tee shot at the first hole. The Texas native then deposited second shots in the hazards at the second and third holes.

Statistically, it was a round both players will want to forget. Overall, Spieth hit just 6 of the 13 fairways as did Reed, but he hit just 10 of 17 greens to Reed’s 12 of 17 total.

Reed won the putting battle 26 to 30.

There wasn’t much banter between the two, particularly as Spieth battled his swing and frustration throughout the day. Reed maintained an even-keeled attitude and only smiled after the final birdie putt mercifully caught the hole.

For Spieth, the match was lost with three-putts at the par-5 sixth and again at the 12th.

“I got caught up in the line on both of them and forgot about the speed which is kind of the opposite of how I normally putt,” Spieth said.

He remained oddly positive after the round given his struggles on the greens.

“Everything is fine,” Spieth said.”Once again, like the British Open it looked like whatever, and then I make one putt and it comes back. I just need a couple of putts to go in at some point. It’s just taking longer than normal. A couple of putts go in and all of a sudden it starts raining.”

Spieth is entered in next week’s Houston Open while Reed continues on in Austin on Saturday, drawing group 13 winner Alex Noren, a 1-up winner over Tony Finau.

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