I would not have bet that the leader would be -9 through two days, and especially wouldn’t have thought that while watching the early action yesterday. Wind, a dry course, and unholy greens had me doubting if anyone would go under par yesterday.
But as Benny let us know, Patrick Reed sits atop the leaderboard as Day 3 approaches.
I’m going to say this right now….Patrick Reed will NOT win the Masters.
First off, let’s look at what he’s doing this week. He’s hit 22-of-28 Fairways, 79%, which is completely unsustainable. For context, there are four guys you’ve never heard of over 70% on tour this year, and most who are considered “good” drivers of the golf ball, hover between 50-60% on the season. And that’s across all courses…this is Augusta.
Reed is also leading the field in putting, averaging 1.42 putts per hole, at Augusta. The top average on the season is over 1.502 . Reed’s 2018 average is 1.58. Doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but it’s 3-4 strokes over two days, if he regresses to only “The Best Putter on Tour”. If he putts at his own average, he’d lose 6 strokes just on the greens over the weekend.
Bottom line is, what Reed is doing off the tee and on the greens is just unsustainable. The question is, as it always is at the Masters, when his luck runs out, can he handle the pressure.
The leaderboard is stacked with top ranked golfers, and with 8 Major Champions in the mix. These guys are battle-tested, and in most cases, just quite frankly better golfers than Reed. Spieth, Thomas, McIlroy, Stenson, Johnson, Fowler…that’s a lot of dragons to slay.
Reed has only held a lead once on a weekend in a Major, and has only one top 10- 2nd at last year’s PGA. He has had memorable performances on a big stage, but those are at the Ryder Cup. That’s a whole different animal. With match play in general, and the Ryder Cup in particular, momentum can swing the whole thing. Reed runs hot, with his scoring, and his emotions. It’s what makes him a great match play guy, and a great golfer, but it’s not necessarily rewarded at Augusta.
As Sergio put on full display Thursday, Augusta is a mental test unlike any other. It’s not all tricked out like US Opens, or a different style play like The Open Championship. There isn’t just one thing about it that makes it tough. It’s the whole package. A challenging course, with the toughest field, all the history and aura…it’s a 72-hole grind. And the minute you feel comfortable…double bogey!
There are countless examples of weekend collapses at the Masters. Great golfers, who weren’t up to the challenge. Just on this leaderboard, Spieth and McIlroy have epic Sunday meltdowns on their resume. Is Reed going to be able to avoid a similar fate?
I am a Reed guy. As much as I am a fan of guys like Spieth, I feel strongly that golf needs guys like Reed at the forefront. He has personality, he’s not afraid to show emotion, and if you’ve never watched him play in the Ryder Cup…do yourself a favor, and plan to call in sick the last week of September.
He’s untested, playing out of his mind, at an unsustainable pace, with bad weather coming, a stacked leaderboard, and a course that is just itching to drag him back to the field.
I’m not sure Reed is up to that kind of a challenge.