BC-GLF--Wells Fargo,1st Ld-Writethru
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Patrick Reed is without a top 10 on home soil in more than 10 months but starting to show signs his game might be turning around.
Reed kept bogeys off his card on a tough Quail Hollow course Thursday for a 4-under 67, giving him a share of the lead among the early starters at the Wells Fargo Championship. Adam Schenk, Martin Laird and Nick Taylor also were at 67.
Reed hasn’t won since the Masters last year, and he hasn’t finished in the top 10 in the dozen tournaments he has played this year. His last top 10 was a runner-up finish in Dubai to end the European Tour season in November, and his last top 10 in America was fourth place in the U.S. Open last June.
His patience has been tested.
“I don’t think it’s really as much as top 10s and stuff like that as it’s been where I felt like I’ve made some pretty good golf swings and because it’s been a little loose at the top, I hit it and I’m like, ‘OK, that’s going to be good.’ And I look up and the ball is nowhere near where I’m trying to hit it,” Reed said.
But he believes that plenty of work is starting to pay off, and it was good to be rewarded on a tough day for scoring.
Defending champion Jason Day and Keith Mitchell were among those at 68.
Phil Mickelson, making his 16th straight appearance at Quail Hollow without a victory, opened with a 71.
Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler were among the late starters.
The wind wasn’t much of an issue, just the firm, fast conditions that made it difficult to get shots close to the hole, especially from the rough.
Reed did just about everything well and came up with key par saves after making the turn at No. 1 by holing an 18-foot putt, along with 8-foot and 6-foot putts for par as he finished up his round.
It was his seventh straight round at par or better on Quail Hollow dating to the last two rounds of the PGA Championship in 2017.
“It always feels great, especially around here, to go shoot a low number in the beginning,” Reed said.
Reed said he has been working hard on getting his club in the right position, and not getting too long and loose at the top. He felt it coming around last week in New Orleans even as Reed and Patrick Cantlay missed the cut in the team event.
Once he got the technical side figured out, it was time to stop thinking and start hitting shots.
Most of them were in the short grass, which helps at Quail Hollow. Laird found that out, and ended his day with a tough par save on the ninth after driving in the rough.
“It’s such a long course, if you’re driving it in the rough, there’s some par 4s you can’t even get to,” Laird said. “That’s what happened on my last hole there. I drove it in the left rough and I had to lay up short right and get up-and-down for par because I didn’t really have a shot to get it on the green.”
Mickelson mixed bogeys with birdies on the back nine, and then finished with 10 straight pars.
“It was kind of a lethargic, lazy, unexciting round,” he said. “Hit a lot of greens and didn’t make many putts. I had a couple three-putts. But I came in here fresh. I had two weeks off. I think the next three days it’s going to get better.”