Team Reed once again at top of a Tour leaderboard

By Randall MellFebruary 28, 2015, 12:01 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Patrick Reed’s compass is pretty dialed in when it comes to finding his wife, Justine, on the golf course.

She’s true north for him.

“I think I’ve seen him hit every shot this year, maybe I missed one,” Justine said between shots Friday at the Honda Classic, where Reed is making another run at yet another victory.

Coming off his 11th hole of the day, after making a nice up-and-down from the front bunker, Reed found his wife, leaning on her umbrella. The long, golden locks flowing out of Justine’s golf cap, spilling halfway down her back, make her easy to find.

They exchanged quick smiles from a distance.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Justine said of the on-course connection. “Patrick always seems to know where I am. Sometimes, you just need a little smile. It’s such a grind out here.”

These two have been through a lot in their rocket ride up the PGA Tour ranks in a little more than two seasons, from thrilling victories to controversial news to frightening health scares. They were once the cute player-caddie couple that Monday qualified their way into the spotlight on the PGA Tour. Now, they’re quickly becoming quite the power couple, on a climb that would grow impressively steeper with a victory this week.

With a 3-under-par 67 Friday, Reed is the leader in the clubhouse in the rain-suspended Honda Classic. He’s at 6-under overall, two shots behind Brendan Steele, who is only four holes through his second round.

Honda Classic : Articles, videos and photos

Reed, 24, will be trying to win his fifth PGA Tour title this weekend. Over the last 30 years, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are the only players to win at least five times before their 25th birthday.

What’s it mean to be mentioned in that company?

“It always means a lot,” Reed said. “The main thing is I feel like I just keep on improving day‑in and day‑out. I feel like I've improved on little things that I've needed, to be a little more consistent. Luckily, we've been in the hunt coming down Sunday. We've done pretty well.”

Reed speaks in the plural  “we” because Justine is part of what’s happening out there, even though she no longer totes his golf bag. Her brother, Kessler, carries Patrick’s bag now. From a distance, Justine is still a factor. She has become a second set of eyes for Reed and for his coach, Kevin Kirk. She isn’t just cheerleading on this journey with him. She is a student of the game. She’s observing, taking mental notes.

What is she looking for out there?

“It depends,” Justine said. “Sometimes, Patrick will ask me to look for something specific. He might want me to watch for something with the position of his hips, or his tendency to get on his heels with his driver. Sometimes, it’s seeing a pattern, like at Spyglass and Pebble Beach this year, where he was being too aggressive with his decisions.

“I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time being out here.”

They also talk about how Patrick’s feeling out there, about temperament.

“I think he’s definitely matured on the course,” she said. “We talk about a lot of things.”

Justine is out there with Patrick, rain or shine. She was out there Friday when the skies opened and heavy rain washed over the course, causing the PGA Tour to stop play twice.

“I got soaked,” Justine said.

Patrick noticed his wife slogging along with him, even in the rain.

“It means a lot,” Reed said. “Just the support I have from her, from my team, being out there, especially Justine.

“I was going to tell her to go in on 12, but she gutted it out. It was nasty.”

During the first suspension of play, Justine hustled back to the house where the Reeds are staying. She changed clothes and brought back dry clothes for Patrick.

“All the little things she does help a lot,” Reed said.

In a Sports Illustrated story published three weeks ago, the magazine detailed the thrills and travails the Reeds have faced in their climb. It’s remarkable what life has already packed into their story.

There was the exhilarating birth of their daughter, Windsor-Wells, eight months ago, taking Justine from the role of caddie to mother. There was the frightening incident last December, when Patrick rescued Justine from nearly drowning in a bathtub after she was overcome by a grand mal seizure. There has been Patrick’s estrangement from his parents, backlash he faced proclaiming himself a “top-five” player in the world after winning at Trump Doral last year, unflattering stories about strife with former college teammates . . . Their story is chock full of drama, but so much promise, too, in what this couple is achieving together.

“I just want people to realize how passionate and how determined I am and how much love I have for the game of golf,” Reed told Sports Illustrated.

Nobody knows that better than Justine.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.