KAPALUA, Hawaii – There’s a big banner of Patrick Reed in the Kapalua clubhouse. He’s holding the Hyundai Tournament of Champions trophy from last year and he’s making the shaka sign, Hawaii’s famous hang-loose gesture.
However, many of the other promotional materials for the event are focused on Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, the top two players in the world. It’s not a slight to the defending champion as much as it is a nod to the fact that this field is the strongest it’s been in more than a decade.
Still, Reed played alongside Spieth on Thursday and dropped an eagle on Kapalua’s massive 18th green to shoot 65 and take a one-shot lead over, well, Spieth. The 10th-ranked player in the world made six birdies and an eagle and was 6 under over his last six holes.
“To start the day I felt like I was hitting the ball really solid,” Reed said. “I felt like I was playing really, really well. Just some of the putts weren’t really falling.”
Reed’s playing partner concurred.
“Patrick could have shot 13 under today,” Spieth said. “If he had his putter going at the start of the round, he missed quite a few pretty short length putts on the front nine or he should have shot really 5 under on that front nine.”
Reed birdied Nos. 13-15, had a kick-in birdie at 17, then hit a 3-wood from 309 yards to within 20 feet on the par-5 home hole. He made the eagle putt.
Although Reed went only 10 days without touching a club during the holidays he’s played in seven events since the Tour Championship and his worst finish in that stretch is a tie for 10th place. He finished second twice.
The momentum has continued here in Hawaii and Reed will be in the final group again Friday for the second round with, well, Spieth.
“That means you’re doing something right and you’re playing some solid golf,” Reed said. “Hopefully I can continue and come down Sunday, be in a good position.”