Patrick Reed’s chance at history ended before it began
Shinnecock Hills was showing to be a lot easier Sunday morning, and Patrick Reed was watching. Trying to win a second straight major to start the season after his Masters victory in April, Reed went out with guns a-blazing.
The mercurial 27-year-old started with three birdies in a row and five birdies in the first seven holes to get to 1-over for the tournament. There was a buzz around him, with fist pumps and cheers beginning to follow him around the golf course.
But he couldn’t keep it going, bogeying Nos. 9, 11 and 12 to take the wind out of his sails as he cruised in. Reed finished with a 2-under 68 to close out the tournament at 4-over, three shots behind back-to-back winner Brooks Koepka.
“Of course it’s disappointing, but at the same time, finished tied for second at PGA last year, won Augusta, then I think I’ll finish in the top five here,” Reed said immediately after his round. “To finish in the top 10 in my last three majors and to have a chance to really win all three of them and to close one off, it means a lot.”
When Reed was making his run, the first thought was that he would keep the hope of a single-season Grand Slam alive. The most recent person to win both of the first two majors of the year was Jordan Spieth in 2015, but he couldn’t get it done at the British Open. Tiger Woods also won a wraparound Grand Slam — aka, the Tiger Slam — when he held all four major titles in 2000-01.
But the only real Grand Slam was Bobby Jones in 1930, when two of the majors were the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur.
“Of course, Grand Slam would have been nice, but you know, I mean, honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind,” Reed said. “It was go out, play some solid golf, try to post a number and see if you can get the job done.”
Reed was never really out of this tournament, shooting a respectable 71 in the brutal conditions Saturday. He came into the final round at 6-over, only three shots off the four-way lead.
Teeing off at 1:51 p.m., Reed saw low scores were going up, including Tommy Fleetwood on his way to a record-tying 63. Reed then stuffed one close on the short first hole, made a great birdie at the long par-3 second and followed with a huge drive at the long par-4 third that resulted in another wedge close for an easy putt for birdie.
“Hit the ball on the green, try to let the putter work, and that’s the thing,” Reed said. “I did that.”
He did the same thing at Augusta a few months ago, but it was a different scenario when he started that final round with a three-shot lead. This time, he was chasing. And he gave it a go only to come up just short.
“I had a chance. I definitely had a chance,” Reed said. “Just too many missed putts, and at the end of the day, just needed to hit the ball a little closer.”