Patrick Reed earned his breakthrough title at the Wyndham Championship to become the first golfer in 17 years to win on the U.S. PGA Tour with his wife as caddie.
Reed, a 23-year-old Texan, beat Jordan Spieth with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff at Sedgefield Country Club in Greeensboro, North Carolina, yesterday, after the pair finished in a tie at 14-under par 266. Reed had a 4-under-par 66 in the final round, one shot more than Spieth.
Reed, in his 38th start on the tour and 23rd this season, and his caddie, Justine, are the first husband-and-wife team to win on the tour since Nicki and Steve Stricker at the 1996 Western Open. Reed secured a place on tour this year by finishing 22nd in the 2012 qualifying tournament.
“I see so many of these guys that are with their wives for a week, then they go off on the road for four, five weeks in a row,” Reed said. “They don’t see their families for a long time. That’s going to take a toll on you. And for me to be able to have mine with me at all times, it means everything.”
The Wyndham Championship was the last chance for players to get into the top 125 of the FedExCup rankings and qualify for the Barclays. The first of four playoff events is scheduled to begin Aug. 22 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. The player who tops the FedExCup rankings after the season-ending Tour Championship receives a $10 million bonus.
With his win, worth $954,000, Reed climbed 56 places to 22nd in the standings, while Spieth advanced eight places to eighth. Tiger Woods, a five-time winner on tour this year, is first, followed by Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, who won the FedExCup in 2012.
For the first time since the FedExCup began in 2007, no player moved into or dropped out of the top 125 after the Wyndham. Robert Streb finished the tournament in a tie for 37th place to climb seven spots to 126th and said he tried to put the pressure of trying to qualify for the playoffs to one side.
“You can’t completely ignore it,” Streb told reporters. “I just tried to play the best golf I could.”
Brian Harman and reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year John Huh tied for third place behind Reed and Spieth at 12-under par.
Reed missed a chance to win when he failed to drain a seven-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, the 18th. He hit his next drive almost out of bounds before setting up the winning birdie by punching a 7-iron underneath the branches of a tree on right of the 10th hole to seven feet from the cup.
“The ball was so far above my feet that it almost felt like I was taking a baseball swing,” Reed said of his lie after getting a free drop. “It was the best shot of my life.”
Reed is the 12th first-time winner on tour this year and the second player from Augusta State University after Vaughn Taylor to win on the world’s richest golf circuit. His wife joked afterward that she’d take the whole paycheck rather than the caddie’s standard 10 percent of the winnings.
Spieth, 20, missed the chance to become the youngest two-time winner in tour history. On July 14, Spieth became the first teenager to win a PGA Tour event since 1931 when he defeated Zach Johnson and David Hearn on the fifth hole of a playoff at the John Deere Classic.
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