Patrick Reed had some struggles on Saturday, but rebounded late and took a three stroke lead heading into the final round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club . On a day when only 31 players were not above par after Sunday, an even-par 71 Saturday gave Reed a three-shot lead at 6-under-par 207.
Reed goes into Sunday as +205 to win the tournament. His nearest competitor, Australian Marc Leishman, is +805. Reed had this to say in his press conference after Saturday’s round.
REED: That was one of those days that we were able to grind it out. It played tough. It seemed to get firmer and faster as the day went on, and you know, it was just a lot of adjusting you had to do during the round. You know, we handled it pretty well and luckily we have the lead going into tomorrow.
QUESTION: Three-for-three I think with a 54-hole lead or co-lead. What do you attribute your Sunday success to so far?
REED: Just staying patient. You can’t get ahead of yourself. If you think about having the lead or if you think about what you’re going to do coming down 18, you’re going to lose focus on the rest of the holes. I’m just going to go on the same mind-set I had all week and basically always; one shot at a time.
QUESTION: Without your record in front of me, I have an excellent chance of muffing this question up. But you seem to have — Greensboro was great and Hope, but it seems like there’s been some massive dips between wins. Obviously you had some, you know, a baby on the way. I don’t know what kind of distraction that was on the course, but could you talk about your striving to reach kind of a more consistent level of play and more of your great weeks?
REED: After we played Doral, I was more focused on making sure Justine was all right and making sure the baby was fine. You know, family comes first, so I was more focusing on that. So when I was on the golf course, I wasn’t 110 percent focused on what I was doing.
QUESTION: What was your practice like?
REED: I was still practicing hard. It’s just this game is, I believe, 50 percent mental as it is 50 percent, you know, physical. So it’s one of those things that you have to be completely into it and you know, I feel like now we’re playing some solid golf and I’m just kind of putting things together. You know, there’s a lot of spurts throughout after we had the baby of me playing well. It’s just, you know, there was just one thing missing. I do three of the four parts really well and just one was kind of lacking. I feel like now we’ve got it all wrapped around and we’re ready to go.
QUESTION: At a quick glance you’re only one of three guys this week to be able to shoot a round that’s not over par. We’ve heard all week that this is a difficult course. What do you think has — especially amongst the leaders today, what do you think has been the toughest part?
REED: Well, if you get in the rough, you’re going to struggle, because this rough is so thick. So you have to hit fairways. But even if you get a good lie in the rough, it’s just minimizing those errors on those risks. You get in the rough, you might have to play 40 feet away from the flag. You just have to, I mean, we don’t like to aim away from flags. So you just have to be disciplined enough to do it. This back nine today, we have had no rain, so it’s getting very firm and very fast. So there’s a lot of iron shots that I hit that I felt, you know, whether it was Thursday, Friday or even earlier in the week that would have stopped that just seemed to bound and just keep going. Those are things I just have to remember for tomorrow.
QUESTION: Given your respect, admiration for Tiger, does it put more pressure on you that this is his tournament and that he’ll be the guy giving you the trophy if you win, or can you put that out of your mind?
REED: I mean, honestly, that’s really the last thing on my mind. You know, the first thing on my mind is go home and see how my little baby girl is doing and then just get ready for tomorrow. If I start getting ahead of myself, then that’s when you’re going to make careless errors and that’s what that lead starts to shrink. I’m going to just focus on having a good night’s sleep, good warm up and that first tee shot.
QUESTION: Curious about what the reaction among your peers was, and maybe the funniest thing anybody said to you about your Doral comments; just kind of generally what you heard from guys out here, not from the public.
REED: Yeah, I mean, I haven’t had anything negative said from the guys out here. They all believe in themselves that they are one of the top players. You have to. You can’t play this game with lack of confidence. So just one of those things that, you know, we’re all trying to strive for the same thing, and some guys get there and that’s all we’re trying to do.
QUESTION: Justin Rose said a few minutes ago that he likes the firm and fast; that he hopes they don’t water down the course tomorrow and that if he had his druthers, it would be the same tomorrow. Your thoughts on that? Would you like the same difficult conditions?
REED: Oh, for sure. You know, the thing is, to be able to adapt to what happens. Whether it plays firm or fast or whether it plays wet and slow, you have to be able to adapt. You’re going to be able to notice when you step on the putting green what they did to the golf course. We’ll evaluate that tomorrow and have a good game plan.
QUESTION: I just asked Marc this, and you’re not in this position, but I was curious what that you had to say. If you were tied for second, would you rather be going into Sunday — would you rather be the last group in the leader or second-to-last group, an under-the-radar-type thing?
REED: You know, it’s always nice to be in the last group going into Sunday. I mean, if I were to choose, I’d definitely be in the last group.
QUESTION: If I’m not mistaken, you’re first in proximity to the hole this week. Can you at the point explain that? Have you made swing changes recently, or what do you think is the key behind being first in that category?
REED: I didn’t even know I was first in that category. I mean, I spent most of the time in the rough. I’m shocked I’m first in that category. I just feel like I’m in a good pattern with my golf swing. I’m confident in what we’re doing and what we’re working on in the swing, and I feel like I’m really staying in the moment and not getting ahead of myself and not moving too fast. I have a tendency of getting too quick, and just quickly pulling a club, and I feel like now we’re just kind of stepping back, taking a couple extra seconds and making sure we have the right decision and pulling the trigger.
QUESTION: Did any of the Top 5 fallout bother you at all, or were you okay with everything?
REED: No, I mean, I’m fine. Doesn’t bother me.
QUESTION: Your shot on 4, I wonder if you can tell us what club you hit and what your expectations were and, how utterly thrilled you were to see where it wound up.
REED: Yeah, I had that same yardage yesterday. I think it was around 169 flag. We were trying to fly it 159, which would have just carried the bunker just on the green. I was in between a full 9-iron and a soft 8, and out of the rough, normally it comes out slow. And so I was like, all right, you really have to swing hard at the nine, because I knew hitting something out of the rough is going to be coming out a little lower and there’s no chance of holding the green. I aimed just left of the bunker and opened up the face of that 9 and tried to swing as hard as I could and just tried to cut it a little bit to get some height. I honestly didn’t think — I thought there was about a three percent chance I could cover that bunker and I ended up being perfect. It was nice whenever I saw it roll up the hill and I saw it come back down because I thought, all right, we have about five, seven feet for birdie. Didn’t know it was a couple inches, which was nice.
QUESTION: And when you mentioned confidence a minute ago, which everyone has to have out here to survive, who do you consider, outside of yourself — so throw yourself out of this one. Do you have an idol in terms of utter confidence?
REED: Tiger. I mean, every time he walks, every time he speaks or anything he does on the golf course, he looks like he’s confident in himself and he works hard at it.
QUESTION: Have you talked to Tiger at all, had conversations with him? If so, what’s he said to you that’s been memorable?
REED: Honestly I really haven’t had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Tiger. You know, that time will come. It’s just one of those things that when we are at the golf course, we are all business and we are all trying to work, so we are all trying to focus on with a we’re trying to do.