Patrick Reed, whose fierce competitive streak has made him a stalwart of recent US Ryder Cup teams, is confident he can find major success at the Masters.
“Everyone wants to win, and if you don’t believe you can win them, then you probably shouldn’t be playing in them,” Reed said after he used a birdie barrage to seize the halfway lead in the first major of the year at Augusta National on Friday.
Reed fired a six-under par 66 for a nine-under total of 135 and a two-shot lead over Australian Marc Leishman.
It was Reed’s best-ever round at Augusta National by four strokes.
Through two rounds, he is tied for fewest putts with 51 and has 22 one-putts.
Perhaps more importantly, he has birdied all eight par-5 holes so far this week.
“The par-5s are huge here to pick up ground. You can’t shoot low without them,” said Reed, who had nine birdies all told on Friday — all in bursts of three. Reed said there was no reason he can’t keep it up through the weekend to claim his first major title.
“I believe that if I play the golf that I know how to play, that I can win majors,” he said. “I have to go in and not get ahead of myself and go into (Saturday) and just take it shot by shot, hole by hole, like I’ve been doing.”
Reed has only led a major championship entering the weekend one other time and notched his first top-10 at a major last August at the PGA Championship.But he’s no stranger to the pressure of the Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe.
In his first Ryder Cup in 2014, Reed irked heckling European fans at Gleneagles by trying to shush them.
Two years later, he was back at Hazeltine, delivering a key singles win over Rory McIlroy in the Americans’ victory.
“Of course, Ryder Cup, it gets you kind of high,” he said. “High adrenaline, just kind of craziness going on.
“But it’s still golf,” he added. “You go out, you play golf and you just try to stick to your game plan, shoot as low a number as possible. And hopefully at the end on Sunday afternoon, it’s good enough.”
That’s exactly what he plans to do this weekend — and the fact that there are eight major champions within seven shots of his lead doesn’t change that.
“I’m just going to go ahead and do the same thing I’ve been doing,” he said. “I have 36 more holes to stick to my game plan.”