Patrick Reed tied for Hero World Challenge lead amid more Ryder Cup drama

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Patrick Reed tied for Hero World Challenge lead amid more Ryder Cup drama

PGA Tour

Patrick Reed tied for Hero World Challenge lead amid more Ryder Cup drama

NASSAU, Bahamas – Patrick Reed made headlines with his words early in the week at the Hero World Challenge. He did it with his golf clubs Thursday in Round 1, firing a 7-under 65 for a share of the lead with Patrick Cantlay in the Bahamas.

“I just want to go out and be who I am, play golf and take care of my business on the golf course,” Reed said.

Reed has never apologized for who he is – a brash figure who’s quickly become the most polarizing player on the PGA Tour. Thing is, he’s a really good player.

Reed is in the middle of a three-week stretch that began with a T-2 in Dubai, continued with a T-45 at the Hong Kong Open and ends this week in The Bahamas. He didn’t show any signs of jet lag with eight birdies and one bogey Thursday at Albany Golf Course.

He was asked several times earlier this week about his post-Ryder Cup comments regarding the Jordan Spieth pairing that never happened in Paris, pointing to his 3-0 singles record in defense of his reputation and also saying “He has my number,” regarding the rift with Spieth.

Reed seems to thrive in a controversial role, and his rock solid opening round threw another twist into an increasingly-intriguing plot line at this normally sleepy event. It’s one that will surely continue when he tees off in the final pairing with Cantlay at 12:43 p.m. Friday in Round 2.

If you’ve never heard of Cantlay, you’re not alone. He seems the polar opposite of Reed personality-wise and quietly goes about his business in relative anonymity.

Tiger Woods shot 1-over 73 Friday and fans swarmed him as he walked out of the clubhouse, sprinting to try to get an autograph. When Justin Thomas popped over they hovered around, and at least one young lady was successful in her quest for a selfie.

Meanwhile, Cantlay slipped through the crowd completely unnoticed and hopped in a golf cart.

He drove off alone.

This after a bogey-free round and a closing stretch that included five birdies over his final six holes.

Cantlay was a late addition to this tournament, filling in once Webb Simpson withdrew just two weeks ago.

“I probably wouldn’t be playing golf, but I’m glad I’m here,” Cantlay said. “I knew I was on the edge for a while, so I was hopeful that I would get in and fortunately I did.”

Cantlay’s story is fascinating in its own right. He was the top-ranked amateur in the world at one point and won the Haskins Award, presented annually to the most outstanding college player in the country, his freshman season at UCLA.

Multiple serious back injuries derailed the surest of sure-thing careers, and he’s only recently gotten fully healthy and started to make noise on Tour at age 26.

The man he’s paired with and competing against has already made plenty of it on and off the golf course.

Now Reed and Cantlay are equals atop the leaderboard, where they’re hoping to stay once the action continues Friday in Round 2.

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