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.

Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.