LA QUINTA, CALIF.
Patrick Reed lost his putting touch for a few hours in the final round of the Humana Challenge. He found it when things were getting interesting.
After shooting three straight 9-under 63s to open a seven-stroke lead, Reed had a 1-under 71 on Sunday at PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course to beat Ryan Palmer by two strokes.
“It was tough out there,” Reed said.
Finally resembling the guy who talked Saturday about being in a “putting coma,” Reed ran in an 18-footer for birdie on the par-3 15th to push his advantage to three strokes and parred the final three holes. He completed the wire-to-wire victory at 28-under 260.
“I started toward the end playing for par, just because I knew pars weren’t going to hurt me,” Reed said. “I knew someone was going to have to do something spectacular to catch me.”
The 23-year-old Reed has two victories in his first 46 PGA Tour starts, winning the Wyndham Championship in August. He was projected to jump from 73rd to 42nd in the world ranking, enough to lock up a spot next month in the 64-man Match Play Championship field.
Palmer made a 15-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a 63.
“What can you do with what Patrick did this week?” Palmer said. “It’s ridiculous what he did. Amazing how good he played. We’ll come up a couple short, but it was a win in my game because I was playing for second today.”
Zach Johnson and Justin Leonard tied for third at 25 under. Johnson birdied the final five holes for a 62, the best round of the week.
“I got red hot at the end,” Johnson said. “I played really good early, missed a couple putts, but I made a bunch at the end.”
The Kapalua winner is taking a four-week break. He’ll return for the Match Play event in Arizona.
“I know it’s a necessity, I know it’s good for me, it’s good for my family, but I’m also hesitant because I’m playing well,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, I can maintain where I’m at.”