Patrick Reed is 12 under through his last 26 holes. Here’s what fueled his turnaround
There are few PGA Tour events more laid back than the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Staged on the sunny shores of Maui, at the breathtaking Plantation Course, the event’s invitation-based, winners-only field is small (38 players) and cut-free.
The tournament offers an enticing opportunity to lock up a win, ensuring continued exempt status and an invitation for the following year. Patrick Reed is one player who has capitalized, winning at Kapalua in 2015.
Claiming victory is no easy task, though. The famously low-scoring tournament is currently led by Australia’s Cameron Smith, who is a whopping 17 under par at the halfway point.
It goes without saying that for most players, birdies outnumber bogeys pretty significantly. That’s why it seemed like such an anomaly when Reed played the first 10 holes of his opening round in four over par.
“I had five penalty shots yesterday basically,” Reed said after his second round on Friday. “When you do that in the first 10 holes you’re going to put yourself behind the 8-ball.”
Luckily for Reed, he managed to turn things around, matching the low round of the tournament on Friday by posting a sizzling nine-under-par 64, bringing him to eight under par overall — an incredible turnaround. Reed has now played his last 26 holes in 12 under par.
So what changed? According to Reed, it came down to just playing golf, as opposed to “golf swing.”
“I just felt like with the swing changes that [David Leadbetter] and I have been working on throughout this off-season I felt like when I got here, those first, five six, holes I was playing too much golf swing,” Reed said. “And when you start playing golf swing and the wind’s kind of blowing a little bit, you can’t play golf swing around here it gets you in some trouble. I hit some really squirrely ones early and kind of cost me five, really five dropped shots just in the first 10 holes.
“And I just told myself, hey, just go back to your simple swing thoughts you had the last couple weeks,” Reed continued. “Because, I mean, at home I was hitting every fairway, hitting the ball well, was feeling really confident with it. Hitting that tee shot on 12 yesterday, right off of contact I just, Kess said, Finally, because it felt like I actually got the swing kind of where I wanted it to be and it just kind of stuck.”
Though he currently trails the lead by nine shots, Reed has a plan in place to power his continued ascent up the leaderboard.
“Sat down with my coach last night and we’re like, take some conservative lines off the tee tomorrow, make quality golf swings and use slopes to get the ball to the spot you’re trying to get it,” Reed said. “Don’t try to take that aggressive line where you have very small margins.”
Reed will play the third round alongside Erik van Rooyen at 4:10 p.m. ET.