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Patrick Reed puts himself back into PGA Tour contention

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He's the kind of guy who gets the crowd going.

Finger waving after great shots. Hand cupped next to his ear in a can't-hear-you-make-it-louder moment. An energy that explodes and sends chills up your spine – whether you're greenside or at home watching on television -- when a winning putt falls.

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Yes, Patrick Reed has his moments. He has, after just two Ryder Cups, become one of those guys who intimidates the other side just by stepping to the tee.

 

The 27-year-old Houstonian with a baby face and some killer shots was poised to be a top-fiver a few years ago, winning five times in his first four years on the PGA TOUR and making a name for himself in two Ryder Cups before cooling off.

Then came Sunday at the Valspar Championship when he came up one rebound putt away from a playoff with Paul Casey, finished in a tie for second with Tiger Woods and, well, fired up Twitter with his Sunday red shirt and black pants.

The problem? Well that red shirt and black pants was Tiger's signature long before Reed wore it. In fact, Reed started wearing the color combo in junior golf because Tiger wore it.

It was just another outfit in Reed's closet until Sunday when the two were in contention down the stretch and, well, it became one of those where-did-that-come-from social media frenzies for a few hours with people unhappy that he was wearing "Tiger's colors."

Reed thought the color combination looked great, too, when he was a teen and wore it playing junior golf and as an amateur. It worked for him, so he continued to wear it. It just took Sunday before the some of the Twittersphere noticed.

The real takeaway from the weekend, however, was that Reed put himself back in contention again for the first time since finishing tied for fifth at Tiger's Hero World Challenge and the second-place finish put him into the top eight on the Ryder Cup points list.

It was his best finish, too, since his runner-up finish to Justin Thomas at last year's PGA Championship.

It was also a woulda-coulda-maybe-shoulda at the end when his 45-foot birdie putt to tie Casey didn't get to the hole and came rolling straight back at him. Of course, he wasn't happy, either, with missing several short putts Saturday. Still a 67-68 finish was strong.

"I really didn't feel like I did anything wrong on the last (hole) when I walked off with a 5,'' he said. "Yeah, it's disappointing. At the end of the day, back in contention. Having a chance to win a golf tournament is always fun.''

He's playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week, but has not committed to the Houston Open. If he doesn't play, Houston Open tournament director Steve Timms still has a strong field with headliners Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington.

Reed's second-place finish vaulted him from 13th place on the Ryder Cup list to eighth. The top eight after the 2018 PGA Championship will represent the U.S. in the event which will be Paris, France at Le Golf National, September 25-28.

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Reed, who went 2-1-1 with Jordan Spieth as a partner and beat Rory McIlroy 1-up in an unbelievable lead-off singles match in 2016, has been mentioned as a potential partner for Woods – talk about an intense pairing -- this fall should both make the team. Reed is 6-2-1 in his two Ryder Cup appearances.

The final hour of his match with McIlroy was an incredible show filled with outrageous putts, great shots and two players having a great time battling each other. During one four-hole stretch, they were a combined 9-under.

As for Reed's intensity? It can rival Tiger's.

One day, as Reed told Golf Digest in 2016, he wants to be in the deciding Ryder Cup singles match.

" At some point in my career, I hope it comes down to me,'' he said. ". . . I want it all on my shoulders. I want that pressure -- the whole country depending on me -- and everything that goes with it. I've wanted that my whole life. Whether I'm put in that position is another matter, but I feel I can get the job done.''


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