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With spotlight on, Reed tops Spieth in sloppy match

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AUSTIN, Texas – Jordan Spieth hit three shots out of play, had three three-putts and played his first three holes in his Day 3 match against Patrick Reed in 5 over par.

That’s not exactly what the golf world was hoping for when America’s top two match play competitors set out in the week’s most high-profile match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but then, after a trying few weeks, Spieth admitted he didn’t have high expectations at Austin CC.

“I didn't feel like [Reed’s] match play toughness had much to do with the match today,” said Spieth, who like Reed was undefeated through two days of pool play. “There were a lot of holes given to him. He had a lot of pick the ball up throughout the day.”

Although Spieth said he’s pleased with the progress he’s making in his game, there are issues - particularly with his putter - that still need to be worked out before next month’s Masters.

Reed didn’t seem to have the same concerns after winning the match, 2 and 1, and advancing to the weekend at the Match Play for just the second time in five starts.

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“It was just one of those days that with how the conditions were, it wasn't fun. It was hard, it was a grinder's day out there,” said Reed, who will face Alex Noren in Saturday’s Sweet 16. “You weren't going to see a ton of birdies.”

Reed took an early 2-up lead thanks to Spieth’s horrid start, which included his opening tee shot sailing out of bounds, but Spieth rallied with birdies at Nos. 9 and 10 to square the match. Reed pulled away with a birdie at No. 13 and closed the match with a 40-footer for birdie at the 17th hole.