Golf Roundup: Reed takes 1-shot lead at Northern Trust

Patrick Reed during the third round of the Northern Trust in New Jersey

Patrick Reed during the third round of the Northern Trust in New Jersey

He is in danger of being left off a USA team for the first time since his rookie season in 2013.

Reed's final-round 69 at Liberty National was good for a one-shot victory over Abraham Ancer and two shots ahead of Harold Varner and Jon Rahm, who had overtaken Reed earlier in the round.

"It's close and it feels good", Reed said. Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., is at 4 under, while Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, Ont., are at 2 under.

With the FedEx Cup playoffs now being three events instead of four, only the top-70 make it to the second leg next week in Chicago, and then only the top-30 will make it to the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta the following week. With a one-stroke lead on the 18th hole, Reed borderline ran after his cutting tee shot - a tee shot that would eventually lead to his sixth PGA Tour win. It was his second straight Saturday swoon, and this one could be costly. Spieth had another rough Saturday, also shooting a 74 that cost him in his bid to salvage his season with a trip to the FedEx Cup finale.

Reed was at 14-under 199 and will be paired in the final group with Ancer, who had a 68 as he tries to deliver good golf at the right time. In six of the last seven seasons, one golfer has won multiple FedEx Cup Playoff events.

Reed needs a big week to help him achieve two goals, reaching the Tour Championship and getting a spot on the Presidents Cup team. "For me, it's just continue playing how I've been playing the past month, month and a half". I'm starting to think clearly while I'm out there and numbers are starting to produce and the game starts turning around.

He just wanted it to translate into better results. Go out and play well.

This is Reed's first victory since taking the 2018 Masters, but it's the logical ending to a game that has been steadily improving for the last few months.

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There was nothing fancy about his golf, which is how he likes it.

Reed, even for the day after three birdies and three bogeys on the front nine, rolled in an eight-footer at the 14th before draining a 10-footer to save par at 15, where he missed the green.

"It's going the right direction", he said.

For Woods, the 2019 U.S. Presidents Cup captain, it was a clever line directed at one of America's best players who in no way would be in need of such charity this year. There are only four captain's picks to be handed out and as of this week, several big name players-like U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner-are also ranked worse than eighth.

Birdies at 12 and 13 moved Rahm to 16-under, but he faded with bogeys at the 14th and 15th.

If he was thinking about that Saturday, it was because of the location.

"Probably more in the back of my mind here because it was here in 2017 and seeing the Statue of Liberty", Reed said. "Just to be back and to feel like I've been playing some solid golf and to finally have it pay off".

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