Saturday's golf: Reed dodges controversy to share 54-hole lead at Farmers

Associated Press
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San Diego — Patrick Reed was involved in another rules controversy Saturday in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He also had a share of the lead with Carlos Ortiz.

On the par-4 10th, Reed hit a 190-yard shot out of a bunker with a TV replay showing the ball bounced once before settling into the rough. Believing the ball didn’t bounce, Reed picked it up to see if it was embedded before a rules official arrived. Reed told the official that no one in his group, as well as a nearby volunteer, saw it bounce.

Patrick Reed reacts to fans watching from a nearby hotel after his second shot on the 18th hole.

Reed was awarded a free drop and saved par. He bogeyed four of the next holes before birdieing No. 18 for a 2-under 70 and a share of the lead with Ortiz at 10 under. Ortiz had a 66 on the South Course.

In December 2019 in Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Reed was penalized two strokes for appearing to deliberately improve his lie in a bunker.

“It’s an unfortunate situation obviously, but at the end of the day when you finish a round and the head rules official comes up to you and has the video and shows everything that went down to the whole group and says that you’ve done this perfectly, you did this the exact right way, the protocols you did were spot on, at that point, you know, I feel great about it,” Reed said.

“The ball just disappeared. None of us saw it bounce,” said Reed, who added that a nearby volunteer told him that it did not bounce. “I looked at my group and said, ‘Guys, she didn’t see it bounce it, either, so I’m going to mark this ball and see if it’s embedded.’

“Once I marked it, the first thing I wanted to do was make sure I got the ball out of my hand because you don’t want to clean it or anything because you don’t know if it’s embedded yet. When I put my finger down there and felt like it has broken ground, the first thing you do is call the rules official. … The rules official said, ‘Yes, this ball has broken the plane.’ ”

The ground was soft because of rain overnight Thursday and during the second round Friday, when play was suspended for nearly an hour because of a storm.

“At that point we go with what the rules official said and also with what the volunteers and what we see,” Reed said. “When we’re out there, we can’t see everything and when that happens you have to go with what the volunteers say and what the rules officials say and when all comes push and shove we felt like we did the right thing and the rules official said we did absolutely perfectly.”

PGA Tour rules official Ken Tackett said Reed “did all the things we ask to do of a player. It’s obviously difficult and you get to second-guessing when see video; soft conditions, there’s a lot of variables out there.”

The incident on 10 overshadowed Reed’s eagle on the par-5 sixth when he reached in two and made a 40-foot putt to get to 12 under. He reached 13 under with a birdie on No. 9.

Reed shared the lead with Alex Noren after the first round and was one shot off the lead after 36 holes.

Sam Burns (70), Lanto Griffin (72), Viktor Hovland (73), Jon Rahm (72) and Adam Scott (72) were two shots back at 8 under. Rory McIlroy (70) was in a group of four at 7 under.

Scott’s round included an eagle, a double bogey, five birdies and five bogeys.

Europe

Paul Casey hit a 3-iron to 10 feet and holed the eagle putt to complete a bogey-free 8-under 64 in the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the United Arab Emirates, giving the Englishman a one-stroke lead as he seeks a 15th win on the European Tour.

Casey made four birdies in his first seven holes at Emirates Golf Club before finishing birdie-eagle for the low round of the day that lifted him above Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (67) onto 15 under par overall.

“You can never say it was flawless, because there are always errors,” the 43-year-old Casey said of his round, “but it was very controlled. I’ve said many times this week I’m enjoying my golf and that was an example today.”

And nowhere was that more evident than on the approach to the par-5 18th hole, which Casey called “one of the iconic shots in golf.”

He flushed it, the ball landing in the middle of the green and rolling up toward the hole.

“A perfect 3-iron,” the 27th-ranked Casey said with a smile.

Casey is bidding for a first title on the European Tour since September 2019, when he won the European Open in Germany – when MacIntyre was tied for second.

The Scot came to the last hole a shot behind Casey but pushed his drive into the trees. He chipped out into the fairway and couldn’t get up and down, leaving his mid-range birdie putt short.

Brandon Stone of South Africa shot 66 and was a shot further back on 13 under overall. No other player was within four shots of Casey, with Sergio Garcia (67) and Laurie Canter (68) on 10 under.

Second-round leader Thomas Detry of Belgium shot 74 and dropped seven strokes off the pace.

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