Spieth, Reed set for Match Play showdown
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed play some of their most spirited golf against one another in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, remarkable only because they’re on the same team.
Now they’re opponents. And the stakes in the Dell Technologies Match Play are personal.
The loser goes home.
The most intriguing match that came out of the draw at the start of the week was packed with significance Thursday when Spieth and Reed won matches for the second straight day to set up a showdown on the skirts of Hill Country in Texas.
They play today, one of four matches between players who have yet to lose this week at Austin Country Club.
Reed fired the first shot when asked what made Spieth a good opponent in match play.
“I don’t know. My back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” he said with a laugh, alluding to the way he carried Spieth in their partnership at Hazeltine to a 2-1-1 record in team play during a rare American victory.
Spieth dodged trouble early against Li Haotong, who missed putts inside 8 feet on two of the opening three holes, won the second hole when Spieth hit into the hazard and thought he won the fourth hole until Spieth matched his birdie by chipping in from short of the green.
Spieth never trailed and pulled away with a savvy play on the par-4 13th over the water and into the wind. He hit driver well to the right toward the gallery, which gave him a clear look at the green without having to hit over any of the lake. His pitch-and-run settled a foot away for birdie and a 2-up lead, and Spieth closed him out, 4 and 2.
Right behind was Reed in his match against Charl Schwartzel, and the South African was 2 up at the turn until Reed won the next two holes to set up a tight finish. Schwartzel stayed 1 down when he missed a 5-foot par putt on the 17th. Needing a birdie on the 18th to halve, Schwartzel could only watch as Reed hit a wedge that nearly went in and stopped a few inches away.
Romo shoots 77 in Dominican Republic
Tony Romo settled down after a nervous start, only to come undone on the back nine in his PGA Tour debut.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback played a four-hole stretch in a 5 over on the back nine that led to a 5-over 77 in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He was 14 shots behind Brice Garnett, who had a 63 to lead by one shot.
Romo, who now works as an NFL analyst for CBS Sports, received a sponsor’s exemption to the tournament, which has one of the weaker fields of the year because it is held opposite the World Golf Championships event in Texas. He is playing as an amateur.
Garnett played bogey-free, opening with a 30 on the back nine and building a one-shot lead over Corey Conners of Canada.
Romo played with Denny McCarthy, who was among those at 66, and Dru Love. The son of Davis Love III shot a 73.
Davies opens with 82 in Kia Classic
Laura Davies had a nightmare round days after contending for a title at age 54, and Caroline Hedwall, Jackie Stoelting and Hee Young Park topped the Kia Classic leaderboard.
Davies shot a 10-over 82 on Thursday at rainy Aviara Golf Club — four days after tying for second behind Inbee Park in the Founders Cup, and five days after shooting a 9-under 63 in the Phoenix event.
Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies opened double bogey-bogey-par-bogey. She bogeyed Nos. 9, 10 and 12, had another double on 15 and bogeyed 16. The 82 was the World Golf Hall of Famer’s highest score on tour since also shooting 82 in the 2013 Marathon Classic. On Monday, she jumped 208 spots to No. 155 in the world.
Hedwall, Stoelting and Park opened at 6-under 66 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.