“I want to play the best guy,” Reed said. “I just love to play the best guys and give myself a challenge and go out and do it.”
In short, Reed wanted to play Rory McIlroy, the European team’s top performer this week at the Ryder Cup, and the duo led off Sunday’s matches in a duel that didn’t disappoint.
The two combined for nine birdies and an eagle through their first eight holes and turned all square after one of the week’s best exchanges when McIlroy rolled in a birdie putt from 50 feet at No. 8. Reed followed with a 25-footer for birdie to halve the hole.
Reed finally pulled away on the closing nine, grabbing his first lead at the 12th hole when McIlroy made bogey. The American went 2 up with a birdie at No. 16and matched the Northern Irishman’s birdie on the final hole for a 1-up victory.
Both players cooled on the inward loop after a frenzied opening nine, combining for just three birdies and four bogeys.
“All the energy I expended this week it probably caught up with me on the back nine,” McIlroy said. “I wanted to go out and try and lead by example and give off the right energy. I just ran out of steam on the back nine.”
It was McIlroy’s first singles loss in the Ryder Cup and dropped his record to 3-2-0 for the week.