Patrick Reed Defies Controversies to Win WGC Mexico Championship
OFF the course, the controversies surrounding Patrick Reed simply refuse to go away, with more people coming forward to say that he is a cheat. But the more the debate rages, the better that Reed seems to play and in yet another dramatic finale he caught and overtook Bryson DeChambeau to win the WGC Mexico Championship despite dropping a shot at the final hole.
At the start of the day all eyes were on 54-hole leader Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Thomas could barely find a fairway all day long and eventually battled to a round of 73, McIlroy struggled on the greens again and Jon Rahm was unable to repeat the magic of Saturday, when he recorded a hole in one one the way to a course record 61.
But Reed and DeChambeau were able to find their best and went at it all day long. And for most of the final round it looked like DeChambeau was going to take the title.
Reed would be the first to admit that he did not have his A-game with him but he putted brilliantly, just as he had all week long at Club de Golf Chapultepec. “The hole seemed to get a little larger,” Reed said of an amazing run on the back nine, where he birdied the 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes to take control.
He was distracted by somebody coughing during his backswing at the last and the ball finished in the trees. It cost him a bogey but he still won by a shot over DeChambeau (65), and three over Rahm (67) and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen (70), who tied for third, his best result on the PGA Tour.
“He deserves the win,” said DeChambeau, who played in the group ahead of Reed and came back out to the 18th green to congratulate the winner. “He fought really hard and ultimately beat me.”
McIlroy will be bitterly disappointed to have let a chance of victory slip away. And it was all down to his woes on the putting surfaces. He shot 68 to finish fifth. It was his fifth top-five finish in as many starts this season but it was not what he was looking for. He will now take the week off. Thomas tied for sixth with England’s Tyrrell Hatton (68).
Incredibly, Reed only took 98 putts all weeks. This was his eighth PGA Tour win, and his second WGC victory as he also won this event when it was contested at Doral in 2014.
Reed had 45 one-putts for the week, which was six better than any other player. “You’re going to hit some great putts that are going to miss,” he said, “and you’re going to hit some bad putts that go in. I’m rolling it really well, and my eyes were working really well.”
His best shot of the final round was the wedge he hit around the trees at the 16th hole, the ball curving perfectly before coming to rest next to the hole for a tap-in birdie. The birdie at the next hole gave him a two-shot cushion coming up 18.
“I felt like I had something to prove to myself coming into this week,” said Reed, who lost a playoff at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last month, “because I feel like I’ve been playing some really solid golf and just haven’t quite gotten over that hump to get the W.”
In addition to losing to Thomas at the Sentry, Reed finished in a tie for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. His goal, he said, was to win before The Masters. Job done.
Reed is the fourth American (Dustin Johnson twice, Phil Mickelson) to win the WGC-Mexico Championship. With 550 FedExCup points for the win, he moves to fifth in the current standings. He also improves his chances of representing the US in the Ryder Cup and Olympic Games later this year.
A year ago, he had a chance to win but shot a final-round 73. He had visions of a repeat performance as he parred every hole from, the second to the 11th. “I missed a lot of greens,” he said. “Had to get up and down on the whole front nine. And seeing all those birdies being posted by DeChambeau in the group in front, Kessler [Karain, his caddie] was able to pull me back and say, ‘Hey, quit pressing, quit trying to go for everything. Get the ball on the green. Your putter has been working all week, and let’s leave it up to the putter.”
It turned out to be a pretty good call.
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