Reed holds off late-charging Huh to lead the field at Wyndham

calexander@newsobserver.comAugust 16, 2013 

Wyndham Championship Golf

Patrick Reed, left, embraces his wife and caddie, Justine Reed after making a birdie putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro on Friday.

CHUCK BURTON — AP

— Patrick Reed is proving he can handle the heat on the PGA Tour.

His wife, Justine, did that last year – albeit in a different way.

Reed moved into the lead Friday in the Wyndham Championship, following up his first-round 65 with a 6-under 64 at Sedgefield Country Club. At 11-under 129, he has a one-shot lead over John Huh, who surged up the leader board with a career-best 62 late in the day.

Huh, the tour’s rookie of the year in 2012, birdied his last two holes for a 130 total. Jordan Spieth, a talented Texan whose first year on tour has been an eye-opener, one was two shots back at 131 after a 66.

Actually, it might be fitting to say “Team Reed” has the Wyndham lead.

The fact Reed was a two-time All-American and helped Augusta State win back-to-back Division II national championships meant little when he turned pro in 2011. He sought out sponsor’s exemptions for PGA Tour events. He entered Monday qualifying events for events. He put a lot of miles on his car.

He also agreed to put his then-fiancee to work, as his caddie.

Before a Monday qualifier last year in Houston, Justine, a registered nurse, said she’d like to carry Reed’s bag for the round.

“Dead heat of the summer,” Patrick Reed said. “Probably about 100 to 105, and humid. I packed (the bag) with two full water bottles, all the rain gear, just everything for a nasty weather day. Had to see if she could do it.”

Turns out, Justine had more stamina and staying power than her player.

“I struggled to get through the last two holes and she was fine,” Patrick Reed said, smiling. “Just seemed to click.”

Reed, 23, made it through Monday qualifying six times on the PGA Tour in 2012 and played in 12 tournaments in all. That’s doing it the hard way.

After playing in the 2012 Valero Texas Open, Reed drove 550 miles to New Orleans, arriving at 2:45 a.m. Monday morning. A few hours later he was qualifying for the Zurich Classic.

A week later, he holed a 12-foot putt on the final hole of the Monday qualifier to slip into the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.

Reed was 25th in the PGA Tour’s 2012 Qualifying Tournament, earning playing rights for this year. He was married in December, and Justine, who called last year a “wild, fun ride,” said she wanted to stay on the bag, help read the greens and offer swing advice when needed.

Reed has four top-10 finishes this year, including his last two event before Greensboro, and $974,000 in winnings. Now 78th on the FedEx Cup points list, he’s gearing up for the FedEx Cup playoffs at Sedgefield and has 12 birdies and just one bogey in the first 36 holes.

“You just have to hit the ball solid and leave yourself below the hole as much as possible,” said Reed, who also birdied his last two holes Friday.

Huh and Spieth are young guys but offer interesting contrasts. Huh admits to being aggressive on the course while Spieth said he has begun picking his spots.

Huh was 21 when he won the Mayakoba Golf Classic last year, banking $2.7million as a rookie. It’s been tougher this year – he’s 91st in points, with only one top-10 finish.

Spieth has earned more than $2million this year, winning the John Deere Classic last month at 19 Now 20, he missed the cut in the PGA Championship, but he was paired the first two rounds of the Wyndham with former Masters champion Zach Johnson and former Wake Forest star Bill Haas.

“We were laughing, having fun, feeding off each other,” Spieth said.

Haas had a 66 Friday and Johnson – who lost in a playoff to Spieth in the Deere – a 68 as both closed at 5-under 135.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia also was at 135 after a 70. Webb Simpson, who made the Wyndham his first tour victory in 2011, got in at 2-under 138 after a 67.

Among those missing the 36-hole cut were Brandt Snedeker, another former Wyndham winner; former N.C. State golfer Carl Pettersson, the 2008 Wyndham champ and former U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover.

With heavy rain in the forecast for Saturday, third-round tee times will begin at 7 a.m. Players will go off the first and 10th tees, in hopes of a 2:30 p.m. finish.

Alexander: 919-829-8945

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