Patrick Reed shares early Hero World Challenge lead with new irons in the bag

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Patrick Reed shares early Hero World Challenge lead with new irons in the bag

PGA Tour

Patrick Reed shares early Hero World Challenge lead with new irons in the bag

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NASSAU, Bahamas – With a 6-under-par 66 in Wednesday’s blustery conditions, Patrick Reed answered any potential questions about introducing new irons just days before the Presidents Cup.

A longtime equipment eccentric who has played his share of mixed sets, made mid-season driver switches and even dabbled with hickory clubs, Reed is using this week’s Hero World Challenge to introduce “secret” custom irons to his bag.

Looking like a throwback to the classic Wilson Staff blades of the 1970s, Reed has been tweaking the design and testing them, but wouldn’t reveal much else beyond a post-round endorsement about their improved performance.

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“They actually just threw up my stats while I was just outside, and it said I only hit 11 out of 18 greens, but I felt like I hit it a lot better than that,” he said. “I felt like I hit a lot of iron shots exactly how I was looking at, flighting it how I wanted to, holding it into the wind, et cetera. So just kind of one of those things that I feel like the irons were doing well, the swing was doing well.”

While the green-in-regulation numbers were hardly thrilling, the unusual easterly winds had Albany playing tough. Several players noted the round was the first in some time where they approached greens with mid and long irons.

Reed was tied with Gary Woodland at the top of the leaderboard in the 18-man field. Chez Reavie was two shots back, while Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson all were 3 under at Albany Golf Club. Tiger Woods got to 3 under with an eagle on the 15th hole but closed with a bogey and double bogey to finish with an even-par 72.

As for putting new irons into play as a captain’s pick for next week’s Presidents Cup, Reed was not the least bit concerned.

“Normally I would say yes, but I’ve been at home grinding with these a little bit, just not this past week. So I’ve hit them before and so I was comfortable on actually putting them into play this week,” he said. “Especially when I had four or five of my irons already, the grooves were kind of gone and I was already having to put a new set in, so it was kind of a perfect time to debut them and throw them in.”

Now the only question: Will they help him win his first event with the clubs in play?

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