San Diego, CA— It didn’t go without a hitch but Patrick Reed played well enough on the back nine in Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
Reed won the Farmers Insurance Open shooting a four-under 68 in the final round to finish 14 under, beating a few players in second place at 9-under. (Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Henrik Norlander, Ryan Palmer, and Xander Schauffele).
Other notable finishers included Rory McIlroy (-6), Brandt Snedeker (-3), Rickie Fowler (+1) and Phil Mickelson (+1).
“It was amazing,” said Reed, who became the first player since George Burns in 1987 to win the Farmers after leading after the first round. “It’s a true test out there. You have to be resilient when you’re out there playing because you could hit some quality golf shots and end up in the wrong spots, you’re having to grind and try to get up and down.”
Reed and Alex Noren was leading the way Thursday after scoring 8-under 64s at Torrey Pines. Reed was a shot off the lead after two rounds and tied with Ortiz after three rounds.
“The golf course is hard,” Reed said. “I mean, you definitely know why it’s a U.S. Open venue and just kind of seeing it this week and seeing kind of how tough it played in certain conditions definitely shows how much harder it’s going to play once June comes around with a little firmer, faster greens and also with thicker rough.”
It’s been a crazy weekend for Reed, who’s golf ethics comes to question at times, “he was allowed to take a drop from what he believed was an embedded lie on the 10th hole Saturday, sparking considerable conjecture as to whether it was warranted,” per Bob Harig of ESPN.
The PGA Tour defended Reed and said it was legal while also saying McIlroy hadn’t broken the rules after finding himself in a similar situation on Saturday:
“It was reasonable for both players to conclude—based on the fact that they did not see the ball land, but given the lie of the ball in soft course conditions—that they proceed as the rule allows for a potential embedded ball. They marked, lifted and assessed the situation to determine if the ball was embedded.
Reed didn’t have his best round of golf on Sunday—that belonged to Sepp Straka, who shot a 65. But the golf gods blessed Reed and had an excellent round when he needed it.
Reed was able to cruise through the remaining holes with eight straight pars before making an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 14-under 274 total on his way towards a $1.35 million winner’s check.
Right after his ninth PGA Tour victory, Reed was asked about the “noise” and “criticism” that followed him off the course Saturday afternoon and accompanied him when he returned to Torrey Pines on Sunday morning.
“When I’m in tournament weeks I don’t ever look at anything,” said Reed, who, in fact, did post an incident-related tweet Saturday night.
He mentioned: “Going into today, I felt good, I felt confident and really went to the golf course, plugged in my headphones and just kind of got in my world with my coach and got to that first tee.”
Carlos Ortiz fell out of contention when he bogeyed the first hole and went south from there. Seven more bogeys and a double bogey followed for a 6-over 78 that dropped him to a tie for 29th.
Hovland, the second-round leader, managed a 1-under 71, became unglued by three bogeys on the back nine. His miscue for the second straight round was the 14th hole, where he again put his second shot out of bounds for a one-stroke penalty.
Hovland managed to control the damage to a bogey — he double-bogeyed the hole Saturday— but it dropped him two shots behind Reed and had a string of three bogeys in four holes.
“The front nine was awesome, made four birdies and was just really solid tee to green; made some putts there, as well,” Hovland said. “On the back, I didn’t really feel like I played bad at all, you know; it was just a couple of mistakes, and it’s so easy to just let things kind of slip away.
Finau, Norlander, and Schauffele all shot 69 and Palmer shot 70. But Finau and Norlander had as many bogeys (3) and birdies (3) on the back nine.
“I knew today was going to be a grind, especially with that leaderboard and seeing how many big names were right around there at the top. I knew you were going to have to go out and play on offense. You couldn’t play defense. You had to go out there and shoot a number,” Reed explained.
McIlroy closed with a 1-over 73, finished eight shots behind and still was a big story on Sunday. With so much attention on Reed taking relief from the embedded lie on Saturday, he had something similar happen on the 18th hole in the third round. When Rory found the ball, he determined it was embedded, informed the other two players in his group and dropped it into deep rough right off the fairway.
The former Masters champion finished at 14 under after a consistent four days of golf at the bluff-top municipal courses overlooking the Pacific. He shared the first-round lead with Noren, was in a group one shot off the lead in the second round and then shared the third-round lead with Ortiz.
Reed said staying mentally strong and good play with his wedge and putter were enough to “keep me in the golf tournament and really allowed me to have a fun stroll up 18.”