Reed be­com­ing ‘Cap­tain Amer­ica’ for U.S. team

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Dave Camp­bell

With ev­ery pump of his fist and fullthroated cel­e­bra­tory yell, Pa­trick Reed gave the U.S. team a big boost of en­ergy.

With ev­ery sharp shot he hit, Reed al­most sin­gle­hand­edly car­ried the Amer­i­cans to a near-com­fort­able lead at the close of play Satur­day in the Ry­der Cup.

No­body was more in tune with the rau­cous gal­leries at Hazel­tine Na­tional Golf Club than Reed, who ap­peared to be play­ing with a con­stant flow of adren­a­line.

“I just feed off it for some rea­son, and for some rea­son the ball doesn’t seem to go that much far­ther than most times,” said Reed, who teamed again with Jor­dan Spi­eth to beat Europe’s power cou­ple, Justin Rose and Hen­rik Sten­son, 2 and 1 in af­ter­noon four-ball com­pe­ti­tion.

Reed tal­lied six birdies and an ea­gle in the match.

“He just played in­cred­i­ble golf. He was in­spired,” Rose said. “He kind of pun­ished us ev­ery time he had a wedge in his hands.”

The high­light of the vic­tory came one-third of the way through, when Reed dropped his ap­proach shot onto the sixth green just right. The ball rolled back per­fectly, plop­ping into the cup for an ea­gle and the sec­ond of four straight holes won by the U.S. pair.

Reed erupted in cel­e­bra­tion, ex­chang­ing hard hand slaps and fist bumps with his part­ner and their caddies and point­ing a dou­ble-arm pump as he yelled, “Come on! Come on!” at the crowd be­hind the ropes.

“I’m in the bunker, and I look at Jor­dan and I say, ‘What do you want me to do here?” Reed said. “He goes, ‘You can hit it over the bunkers.’ I hit it to a per­fect yardage and knocked it in and just went nuts.”

Cap­tain Davis Love III said he be­lieves the 26-yearold Reed was “built” for Ry­der Cup com­pe­ti­tion. This is his sec­ond foray into the bi­en­nial event, af­ter post­ing a 3-0-1 record in 2014 in Scot­land.

“He’s got that at­ti­tude,” said Love, who picked Reed for the lead­off sin­gles match on Sun­day, when he will square off against Europe’s Rory McIl­roy.

In the morn­ing four­somes, the Reed-Spi­eth tan­dem built a 4-up lead with seven holes left, be­fore a fu­ri­ous come­back by the Spa­niard duo of Ser­gio Gar­cia and Rafa Cabr­era Bello halved that match. Love pre­dicted dur­ing the lunchtime break that Reed would re­turn “mad” af­ter the frus­trat­ing fin­ish.

As the Amer­i­can lead­ers weighed in with their sug­gested line­ups for the af­ter­noon, in­clud­ing a plan from Love’s son, vice cap­tain Tiger Woods nudged the boss to­ward a fi­nal de­ci­sion that kept Reed and Spi­eth to­gether for a fourth match.

“I fi­nally just said to Tiger, ‘Are we play­ing them or are we sit­ting them?”’ Love said af­ter the U.S. team took a 91/2-to-61/2 lead into the fi­nal day of sin­gles play . “He said, ‘No, you have to send them back out there. They are play­ing so well.”

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