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Reed becomes youngest WGC winner at Doral

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Does this sound familiar? A top player starts the final round far out of contention, but catches fire, shooting a 30 on the back nine and becoming the leader in the clubhouse. He waits to see if his score will hold up. It does. Jack Nicklaus in 1986? No, Gary Player in 1978. Seven shots off the lead after 54 holes, the South African birdied seven of the last 10 holes to match the then-tournament record of 64. Hubert Green, one of three runners-up, missed a 3-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have tied for the lead. It was Player’s third Masters and his ninth and final major.  - 

Patrick Reed became the youngest winner of a World Golf Championships event Sunday by winning the Cadillac Championship by one shot over Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson. Here’s the skinny on the final round at Trump National Doral:

The leaderboard: Patrick Reed (-4); Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson at -3; Dustin Johnson and Richard Sterne at even par

What it means: It’s the third victory since August for Reed, who at 23 became the youngest winner of a WGC event. This is easily his most significant title, following triumphs at the Wyndham and Humana, and it puts him squarely in the conversation for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. Of the current players under 25, only Rory McIlroy, with six, has more PGA Tour titles to his credit than Reed’s three. The victory should send Reed to about No. 20 in the world rankings. And to think, Reed has never even played a major.

Round of the day: Beginning the day with a two-shot lead, Reed led by as many as four before things began tightening up on the back nine. He endured a rocky stretch on the back nine by playing three superb shots out of the bunkers. On the 18th, and staked to a two-shot lead, Reed purposely laid up off the tee, wedged to 35 feet with his third shot and walked off the green with bogey and a one-shot victory. 

Best of the rest: Bubba Watson continued his recent surge with a final-round 68 and T-2 finish at Doral. In his last four starts, the 2012 Masters champion has a victory (Riviera), a pair of runners-up and another top 10. Jamie Donaldson was one shot off the lead as he played the 18th hole, but he made bogey after finding the greenside bunker. (The dropped shot cost him about $147,000.) Also questionable was his laying up on the short 16th, leading to a conservative par. He shot 70 and tied for second.   

Biggest disappointment: Starting the final round just three shots behind, Tiger Woods re-aggravated his back injury, didn’t make a birdie for just the eighth time in his pro career and plummeted off the leaderboard with a 6-over 78 that gave him a T-25 finish. A day after shooting the best round of the tournament (66), Woods made six bogeys and limped in to the clubhouse – literally. The Arnold Palmer Invitational in two weeks is Woods’ only other scheduled start before the Masters, but it is unclear if he will be physically able to compete. 

Shot of the day: Reed nearly jars a greenside bunker shot on 15, just a few moments after NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller said, “I think the lug nuts are coming loose.” His second shot from the fairway bunker on 16 wasn’t too shabby, either. 

Quote of the day: “It’s just one of those things I believe in myself and I’m one of the top five players in the world. I feel like I’ve proven myself.” – Reed