JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY – Patrick Reed is finally being rewarded with good scores, and he hopes it can be enough to turn around his season.
He is winless in the last 16 months, dating to the 2018 Masters.
He hasn’t missed the Tour Championship in five years, and started the FedEx Cup playoffs at No. 50, leaving him little room for a bad week. He is in danger of being left off a U.S. team for the first time since his rookie season in 2013.
Reed put himself in position to change his outlook Saturday with a 4-under 67, giving him a one-shot lead over Abraham Ancer of Mexico going into the final round of The Northern Trust.
“It’s close and it feels good,” Reed said. “Feels like this has been coming for some time, and now it’s just go out and stick to the game plan tomorrow and hopefully Sunday we have a chance to win the golf tournament.”
Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, playing in the final group, lost ground on a blustery day at Liberty National.
Johnson, twice a winner of this FedEx Cup playoffs opener, didn’t make a birdie until the 10th hole, and then saw his round fall apart with four bogeys over the last six holes for a 74 that dropped him five shots behind.
Spieth began his round by hitting his tee shot into the water, lost ground and momentum with a sloppy double bogey — his first of the week — from the fairway on No. 7 and recorded only two birdies in his round of 74. It was his second straight Saturday swoon, and this one could be costly. He is No. 69 in the FedEx Cup, and a strong finish this week could help salvage his season with a trip to East Lake for the FedEx Cup finale.
He still has one round left and a big crowd in front of him.
Reed was at 14-under 199 and will be paired in the final group with Ancer, who had a 68 as he tries to deliver good golf at the right time.
Ancer, who won the Australian Open late last year, is No. 67 in the FedEx Cup. The top 70 advance to the BMW Championship next week at Medinah, but a good finish could sew up a spot in the Tour Championship and make him eligible for all the majors next year.
“The only thing I have to worry about is still play some good golf tomorrow and that will take care of itself,” Ancer said. “I’m trying not to think about that that much. I know it’s there and I obviously think about it, but I’m just focusing on trying to do everything I can to just play a good, solid round tomorrow.”
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5