LA QUINTA, Calif.
Another perfect day in the Coachella Valley. Another 9-under 63 for Patrick Reed in the Humana Challenge.
Reed broke the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes, finishing at 27 under Saturday to take a seven-stroke lead into the final round.
Reed birdied his final hole on PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course, hitting a wedge to 2 feet on the par-4 ninth. He also had an eagle, eight birdies and a bogey.
“Any time you set a record on the PGA Tour it means you’re doing something right,” Reed said. “Well, a lot of things right. But at the same time it doesn’t matter if you have the 54-hole lead. All that matters at the end is at the end of Sunday.”
The 23-year-old Reed broke the mark of 25 under set by Gay Brewer in the 1967 Pensacola Open and matched by Ernie Els in the 2003 Tournament of Champions, Steve Stricker in the 2010 John Deere Classic and Pat Perez in the 2009 La Quinta event. Reed was one off Stricker’s stroke record of 188 set on a par-71 course.
“Almost seems like I’m in a putting coma,” Reed said. “The hole seems huge. It almost feels like I can’t miss. It’s interesting because when I do miss a putt, I get really frustrated because I almost feel like I should make it.”
The Wyndham Championship winner in August, Reed opened Thursday on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course and played La Quinta Country Club on Friday. He has played the 11 par 5s in 11 under, the 28 par 4s in 12 under and the 13 par 3s in 4 under.
Charley Hoffman and Brendon Todd were tied for second. Hoffman, the 2007 winner, had a 66 on the Palmer course — the site of the final round. Todd shot 68 at La Quinta.
Warren JFK graduate Jason Kokrak double-bogeyed No. 16 Saturday and it proved costly. He finished at 7-under 209 and missed the cut by two strokes.
“I wish I was a little closer than seven,” Hoffman said. “The weather’s been perfect, greens are perfect. The scores and birdies are out there.”
Reed’s seven-stroke margin is the largest entering the final round in event history, a stroke more than Rik Massengale took into his 1977 victory. David Duval overcame a seven-stroke deficit to win in 1999, closing with a 59 on the Palmer course. Last year, Brian Gay began the last day six strokes behind and ended up winning in a playoff.