CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Patrick Reed nearly stormed to his first major title Sunday at the PGA Championship.
The Ryder Cup phenom recorded his first top-10 finish in a major with a tie for second at Quail Hollow.
Reed was 5 under on his round, 7 under for the tournament, and one off the lead held by Justin Thomas when he reached the 72nd hole.
Needing birdie or par to have a real shot at pressuring Thomas, Reed made life difficult when he failed to find the fairway 18, his tee shot coming to rest in the right bunker.
“I finally hit a drive that looked like it had a chance to go in the fairway,” he said. “I thought it might if it had a normal bounce with a draw. Unfortunately it kicked right. … I didn't hit the fairway and from that point, I was playing from behind.”
Reed then hit what he called the “perfect 8-iron” – the “max club” he could get over the lip of the bunker – and his approach came up just short of the green, 35 yards from the back pin.
Now hunting a hole-out or at least an easy par, Reed flew his pitch over the ridge and landed his ball on the green’s back shelf but it immediately grabbed into the grain and checked up 18 feet short.
“I mean, it flew just on top of the ridge and I thought if it landed up top, there would be a skip and kind of a little bit of a release. I'm 35 yards, I didn't think it was going to bite that hard,” he said.
Unfortunately, he would lose his opportunity at solo second when his par putt wouldn’t go. He settled for bogey at the last and tied for the low round of the day with 4-under 67.
“Really I felt like I played 18 great,” he said, unsure what else he could have done. “I'm disappointed to walk off with five on last but I really feel I executed the golf shots I needed to execute. That's all you can do is execute and hope they come out the best.”
The T-2 finish bumps Reed from 11th to ninth in the Presidents Cup standings, meaning “Captain America” shouldn’t require a pick from Steve Stricker assuming the current standings hold over the next three events.
“Of course I want to make the team, and I want to make the team on my number,” he said. “I don't want to have to try to rely on a pick. But really, I don't worry about Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup standings because really at the end of the day, if you go out and play some good golf and you win a golf tournament, and you keep getting yourself in contention, you won't have to worry about that.
“This year's kind of been kind of the moral of the story of today – very frustrating, a lot of good things going on, but falling just a little short.”