FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — There has not been much lacking in Patrick Reed’s 2016 season except a victory, and with a clutch performance on a sunny, warm and raucous Sunday afternoon at Bethpage Black, Reed filled in the missing link.
With many of the members of an enthusiastic gallery shouting encouragement to Rickie Fowler, the 54-hole leader, Reed shot a final-round 70 despite bogeys on two of the last three holes to finish at nine-under-par 275, overtaking a faltering Fowler and winning the Barclays tournament by a stroke over Emiliano Grillo and a fast-finishing Sean O’Hair.
The defending champion and world No. 1 player, Jason Day, who had the shot of the day with a 71-foot downhill birdie putt that broke about 25 feet from right to left on No. 15, tied for fourth with Adam Scott and Gary Woodland at seven-under 277.
For Reed, 26, it is his first victory since the Tournament of Champions early last season, and fifth of his PGA Tour career. He moved from seventh in the FedEx Cup points standings — he had been the highest-ranked player without a win this year — to the top spot and secured an automatic berth on the United States Ryder Cup team.
“Coming from behind on Sunday to win a golf tournament means you must be doing something right,” said Reed, who entered the week with nine top-10 finishes, second on tour to Dustin Johnson’s 12. “I felt I hit the ball really solid the first half to three-quarters of the round. As the pressure started building, I had a couple of loose iron shots and loose tee shots that cost me a couple, but to build yourself a lead coming down the last couple of holes is huge.”
Early in the round, it did not seem as if Reed would go to the last three holes with a three-shot advantage. Starting a shot behind Fowler, he began tentatively, failing to capitalize on birdie putts of 12 and 6 feet on the first two holes and three-putting the par-3 No. 3 to fall two shots behind. But Reed bounced back with a gorgeous second shot to the par-5 No. 4, two-putting from 9 feet to match Fowler’s 4.
From that point, Reed outplayed the fans’ favorite. He chipped in from 33 feet for a birdie on No. 5 and pulled into a tie with a birdie on the par-5 seventh. Reed took the lead for good when Fowler bogeyed No. 11, only his second blemish of the tournament and his first since he missed a short par putt on the ninth hole of the first round.
For Fowler, 27, it was the fourth time in his PGA Tour career that he had at least a share of the lead going into the final round, and he remains winless in those situations, having never shot better than 73. Playing the last four holes in three over, with a double bogey on No. 16, Fowler shot a 74 and finished tied for seventh, three shots back. Not only did he lose the tournament, he failed to move into the top eight automatic qualifiers for the Ryder Cup.
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With Fowler squandering his opportunity, Zach Johnson, who tied for 48th, remained in the top eight. “You don’t want to have to get that phone call,” Johnson said before his fate was known.
Reed, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson qualified for the United States team that will play Europe at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn., this fall. Davis Love III, the American captain, will select three more players after the BMW Championship in two weeks and the last member after the season-ending Tour Championship.
“The guys in the top 12, maybe even the top 15, all those guys have a really good chance of making the team,” Mickelson said. “If they don’t make it on points, they still have a great shot the next two weeks to show why they deserve to be on the team.”
Bubba Watson is one of those players who will have to rely on a pick.
“It’s one of those things where if you don’t play good enough, you can’t get mad at it,” Watson said. “I tried to make the team like everybody else and I didn’t make it. If I don’t get picked, I’ll have a week off.”
Reed, who tuned up his game in the last couple of weeks with the swing coach Kevin Kirk and the putting instructors Dave Stockton and Dave Stockton Jr., was a bright spot on the losing United States team in his Ryder Cup debut two years ago at Gleneagles in Scotland, going 3-0-1.
Known for his confidence, Reed will have plenty of it after ending a drought. “Top 10s are great,” he said, “They’re great for making a living. But we’re going out there to get a ‘W’ and get a trophy.”
It was mission accomplished on Sunday.
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