JOE BIDDLE: Reed held off the pack

Joe-Biddle
Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed is the 82nd Masters champion.

Facing a pack of young guns trying to prevent Reed from gaining his first major golf tournament, he knew what he had to do.

Reed kept his putter sizzling and the combination held off all comers.

“I knew it was going to be tough,’’ the 28-year-old Texan said before modeling his first green jacket. “I made sure to keep the putter going.’’

Reed played collegiate golf at nearby Augusta University and was a key player in leading them to two national championships.

But the Masters? Now that’s a different story. Reed held back golfers with impressive resume’s. Defending Masters champion Sergio Garcia put the green jacket on Reed. It was a perfect fit, and so was Reed’s game Sunday.

Roy McIlroy was paired with Reed on Sunday and Reed’s three-shot lead played a part in McIlroy’s confidence. He looked back on holes 3 and 5, as he missed chances to make birdies and get closer to Reed. McIlroy was nervous and it showed.

McIlroy made only one birdie over the last 14 holes Sunday. He hit only eight greens in the final round.

“Of course it’s frustrating. I wanted to put myself in position and I did that,’’ the North Ireland star said. “I just didn’t quite have it today.’’

Patrick Reed kept his cool throughout four impressive rounds. He says he always looks at leaderboards and he said it helped him.

Reed became the seventh first time Masters winner in the last eight majors. Reed’s scorecard of minus-15 strokes put the others behind the 8-ball.

McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and yes, Tiger Woods were facing Reed. They took their best shots.

Woods doesn’t present a problem yet, but the 42-year-old Woods once ruled the golf world and perhaps he can fine-tune the little things he needs to tweak, primarily his driver.

“I’m a top five player in the world,’’ Reed said before the Masters. He was not bragging. That’s not his nature. Reed wanted rivals to know he would be difficult to beat. He was spot on.

“I knew when I birdied 14, Rickie bogeyed at the same time,’’ Reed said. “To win a major is difficult and it was today,’’ He held all competitors at bay. He was composed from the first tee to the final putt he buried on No. 18. I didn’t get too high or too low.’’

Elite professional golfers now know who Patrick Reed is.

Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist and also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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