Three times, Patrick Reed carried the lead into the final round of a PGA Tour event, and three times, he delivered a victory. Given that stat, and his solid game – even at 23 years old – he was a solid choice to win the Quicken Loans National Sunday because he led by two shots headed into the final round.
“I was 100 percent going into this week on closing,” Reed said. “And now I’m 75 percent. It’s still pretty good odds.”
Reed about came unglued over an inconsistent 18 holes Sunday. He made four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on his front side, made the turn holding the lead – and then collapsed with consecutive double bogeys at 10 and 11. He finished with a 77 to drop from 6 under to even par for the tournament, tied for 11th.
“Just seemed like everything that could go wrong [on the] back nine did,” Reed said. “I did a lot of things great this week. But this definitely burns and definitely gets me more fired up for more events coming up.”
Reed’s finish was his best since he won in March at Doral. His own expectations showed at 16, when he hit a sloppy approach and yanked off his hat, pulling his hair and grimacing.
“Any time you put yourself in position on Sunday to win, you know you’re doing something right,” he said. “I’m going to keep on trucking along, keep working hard and hopefully keep getting myself in these positions.”
Last fall, the R&A announced it would overhaul the way players can qualify for the British Open, doing away with qualifying tournaments and designating events on the PGA and European tours as de facto mini-qualifying events. Thus, the top four finishers at the Quicken Loans National who were not already qualified — as long as they finished among the top 12 here — earned a ticket.
That made for an active Sunday of leader-board watching for those involved. The winners: Shawn Stefani, the 32-year-old Texan who lost to Justin Rose in a playoff and whose only major appearance was at the 2013 U.S. Open; PGA Tour veteran Charley Hoffman, who will make his fourth appearance at the Open; Ben Martin, twice a winner on the Web.com Tour who will play the Open for the first time; and Brendan Steele, another PGA Tour vet who has one win but has never played the British.
“I’m pretty happy they changed the system,” Martin said.
The British Open will use the same format to qualify as many as four players from next week’s Greenbrier Classic. . . .
With the conclusion of play Sunday, Congressional bid farewell to the tournament until 2016, beginning an every-other-year rotation. Next year: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, bringing in a new fan base from Northern Virginia.
Officials from the Tiger Woods Foundation, which stages the Quicken Loans National, already have staff year-round at Congressional, and as next year’s tournament approaches their presence will increase at RTJ, which has hosted four Presidents Cups but never a regular PGA Tour event. . . .
Andres Romero of Argentina shot Sunday’s low round of 68 to move up 27 spots on the leader board and finish tied for fifth with Steele and Brendon Todd at 2 under. This is Romero’s only top-10 finish of the year. He had missed eight cuts in 15 starts.
“I’ve missed a lot of cuts,” he said, “but just working through [it] and the game has come around.” . . .
Defending champ Bill Haas began the day at 2 under and within sight of the lead, but struggled to a 77 in the final round and finished tied for 30th.