Reed beats Spieth in playoff for Wyndham title

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2013, 8:50 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- In the span of a couple of strokes, Patrick Reed went from almost certain disaster to his first PGA Tour victory.

Reed won the Wyndham Championship on Sunday for his first title, beating Jordan Spieth with a most improbable birdie on the second hole of a playoff.

Reed recovered from a drive on the par-4 10th that came a few feet from going out of bounds and stopped in some pine needles in the woods near a television cable.

Reed pulled out his 7-iron, uncorked a baseball swing from an uphill lie and sent the ball under a tree branch - yet away from the tree trunk - to land his second shot 7 feet from the pin.

''It was the best shot of my life, that's for sure,'' Reed said.

Spieth, who called it ''one of the best shots I've ever witnessed,'' had reached the green in two strokes, but his 10-foot birdie putt trickled wide of the cup.

Reed then sank his short birdie putt that ''felt like it was 40'' feet to end it.

''Just to get my first win means everything to me,'' Reed said.


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Reed, who had his third straight top-10 finish, earned $954,000 in prize money and 500 FedEx Cup points for winning the final tournament before the playoffs.

Reed and Spieth finished regulation at 14-under 266. Reed closed with a 4-under 66, and Spieth had a 65.

The 20-year-old Spieth, the John Deere winner in a playoff last month, was denied in his bid to become youngest two-time champion in the modern era of the PGA Tour.

John Huh and Brian Harman were two strokes behind. Harman had a 66, and Huh shot 68. Matt Jones matched the tournament record for a final round with a 62 and finished at 11 under along with Matt Every (67) and Zach Johnson (68).

Reed - who let a three-stroke lead on the back nine slip away - missed a chance to win it on the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th.

Spieth recovered from a terrible drive and saved par with a snaking 25-foot putt.

Reed pushed his 7-foot birdie putt wide of the hole, sending it to a second extra hole.

''I don't even know how I was still playing (the second playoff hole) after what happened on 18,'' Spieth said.

Spieth and Huh both caught Reed at 14 under down the stretch in regulation.

At roughly the same time Reed bogeyed the par-3 16th, Spieth birdied the par-4 17th and closed with a par. Huh quickly slipped off the pace after finishing with two bogeys.

Reed, who led or shared the lead after the second and third rounds, also could have won it in regulation after landing his approach shot on the 18th in the center of the green.

But he left his approximately 20-foot birdie putt short and tapped in to force the playoff.

At the end of the day, the leaderboard looked much like it did at the start - tightly bunched. Eight players began the round within two strokes of the lead.

Reed compared the scenario to a Monday qualifier, and he knows plenty about those: he earned his spots in six tournaments last year by playing well in those 18-hole Monday rounds.

For the second straight day, organizers tried to beat the rain by starting the round early, sending players off in threesomes from the first and 10th tees. The skies were ominously overcast all day, but the saturated course didn't receive any rain.

And unlike the third round - in which only 13 players broke par - scores were significantly lower on the water-logged Sedgefield course, and that turned the final 18 holes into a shootout.

Jones birdied five consecutive holes and six of seven during his best round of the year.

''Every golfer out here can go and shoot that,'' Jones said.

Jones and Simpson, the 2011 winner who shot a 63, led the 52 players who shot better than even-par 70 during the final round.

''You really couldn't tell that the greens got any rain,'' Simpson said. ''They were still as fast today as I've ever seen them.''

At one point early in the round, five players - Reed, Every, Harman, Huh and Johnson - shared the lead at 10 under and six others were within two strokes of them.

It wound up being a mostly fruitless week for the players on the playoff bubble who missed their last chance to push their way into The Barclays next week.

Nobody who started the week outside the top 125 managed to make it in. Each of the players at Nos. 126-132 missed the cut, and No. 133 Robert Streb finished at 3 under but could only jump to 126th.

''I was trying to put (the pressure) to the side as much as I could,'' Streb said. ''You can't completely ignore it, but I just tried to play the best golf I could.''

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

Later, he laughed about the moment.

''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

“They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

“Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

“As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

“Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.