The Northern Trust

The Northern Trust

The Northern Trust
Jersey City, New Jersey
Winner: Patrick Reed

For Patrick Reed, success came from a kind of addition by total subtraction. The game that gave him the 2018 Masters had gone sour. He had finally decided that the best way to revive it was to quit working on it. “I was pushing too hard,” he said. “My team was smart enough to tell me to shut it down and reset and get clear, because we can finish the year right.”

Which he did, shooting Liberty National in 66-66-67-69 for a 16-under 268 and a one-shot victory in The Northern Trust, the opener of the three-tournament 2019 FedExCup Playoffs. “It’s amazing,” Reed said. “Just to be back and to feel like I’ve been playing some solid golf and finally having it pay off.”

Troy Merritt didn’t make it easy. He launched the Playoffs with a nine-under 62, tying the course record at rain-softened Liberty National. He was one up on Dustin Johnson, who made four straight, late birdies, shot 63, and went to the practice range. “Today was a really good score, but just want to make sure I keep it that way,” he said.

Reed was four back on a bogey-free 66. With the scoreboard groaning with 60s, Tiger Woods found himself 13 behind at 75. “I knew I had to go get it, and I didn’t,” he said. He withdrew before the second round with a sore oblique muscle.

Johnson took the second-round lead with a 67–130. He made five birdies, but he missed nine others from 10 feet or less. “Don’t care what position I am in the FedEx,” Johnson said. “I want to win a golf tournament.” Jordan Spieth (64), one behind, had just one bogey in 36 holes. “The important thing for me,” he said, “is not to get ahead of myself.”

Reed emerged in the third round with a 67 made up of five birdies, triggered by an 18-footer at No. 3. At 14 under, he led Mexico’s Abraham Ancer by one. Could Ancer win? “I’m trying not to think about that,” Ancer said. Reed had one final test — the fourth round. First came a ragged front nine. He birdied No. 1 on a 13-foot putt, bogeyed the second (bunker) and third (rough), birdied No. 5 (seven-foot putt), bogeyed No. 6 (two bunkers), and finally birdied No. 8 on a short putt.

Spain’s Jon Rahm took the lead on birdies at 12 and 13, then bogeyed the next two. Ancer threatened with birdies at 16 and 17, but missed a chance to tie when he two-putted the 18th for par from 50 feet. A 69 gave him a solo second.

Reed pulled it out dramatically down the final stretch with three crucial shots. At the 14th, it was a wedge tee shot to eight feet. He birdied. At 15, after getting out of heavy rough, a 10-foot putt to save par. And at 16, a wedge second to four feet for another birdie. Two closing pars gave him a 69, a 16-under 268 and a one-stroke win. It was Reed’s seventh tour win, but first in 16 months. “Not used to actually taking time off,” Reed said. “If anything, I came back stronger.”


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