By Jay Betsill
Following three straight 9-under 63s to open a seven-stroke lead, Patrick Reed had a 1-under 71 on Sunday at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation to beat DFW resident Ryan Palmer by two strokes for his second PGA TOUR victory. His efforts earned him a check of $1.026 million and a spot in the 64-man field at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship next month at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain next month.
“A lot tougher than the first three rounds,” Reed said, following his win at the event that was previously known as the Bob Hope Classic. “My speed was off today. I left a lot of putts short. It seemed like the first three days the ball was just trickling over the front edge, and today it seemed like it came to a screeching halt.”
The 23-year-old Reed, who now has two victories in his first 46 PGA TOUR starts after winning the Wyndham Championship in August, skyrocketed to No. 8 spot in the FedExCup standings and 42nd in the Official World Golf Rankings. Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Zach Johnson and DFW resident Justin Leonard tied for third place, three shots back at 25-under. Other notables in the field included Keegan Bradley (T18, -19), Webb Simpson (t23, -18), Rickie Fowler (T33, -16) and Brandt Snedeker (T58, -13).
During his post-round press conference, Reed received a call from President Bill Clinton, whose foundation is a partner in putting on the tournament.
“He told me to get myself back in that zone more often,” Reed said. “Because he said it was a lot of fun to watch.”
The next stop on the PGA TOUR is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club in La Jolla, CA. Defending champion Tiger Woods is in the field along with notables Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Nick Watney, Brandt Snedeker and Sony Open in Hawaii champion Jimmy Walker.
PHIL MICKELSON, RORY MCILROY COME UP SHORT AT ABU DHABI
103-ranked Pablo Larrazabal (-14) shot a final-round 67 to capture the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship holding off No. 5 Phil Mickelson (-13) and No. 7 Rory McIlroy (-13) by one stroke. While McIlroy was in the hunt from the start, Mickleson barely made the cut. After firing a third round 63, Mickelson had the lead in the final round when he attempted to hit a ball right handed and actually ‘double-hit’ the ball in what would result with a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 13th hole. In losing by one shot, the ‘double-hit’ basically cost him the trophy.
“I enjoy challenging myself to hit shots,” Mickelson said after the round. “Sometimes I pull them off, and sometimes I don’t. This week I had a little of both.”
McIlroy himself was penalized two strokes during Saturday’s third round after standing on a line that marked ground under repair. After a week off, he’ll play the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in a field that includes Tiger Woods and Fred Couples.
— The PGA Tour announced its 25-event Web.com Tour schedule, adding new tournaments in Oregon, Nova Scotia and Ohio. The Cleveland Open is set for June 5-8 at A.W. Tillinghast-designed Lakewood in Westlake. The Nova Scotia Classic will played July 3-6 at Ashburn in Halifax, and the Portland Open will close the 21-event regular season at Pumpkin Ridge on Aug. 21-24.
“This tour is clearly positioned as the path to the PGA Tour,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “We believe the Web.com Tour’s global appeal, presence and structure are at an all-time high and positioned to be elevated even higher.”
— Bernhard Langer won the Champions Tour season opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship by three strokes over Fred Couples and Jeff Sluman. After beginning the day tied at -14 with Couples, Langer finished with a 54-hole total of 22-under 194 at Hualalai for his 19th senior victory.
“It’s a new year and my goal was to get over the hurdle and win as soon as possible,” said Langer, who won here five years ago. “I’m very pleased and extremely blessed to play golf like this.”