Three months ago, Patrick Reed proclaimed himself one of the top five golfers in the world.
Reed had just won the Cadillac Championship at Doral, his third win in seven months. It seemed brash for a 24-year-old who had been on the PGA Tour for only four years, and since then, Reed has missed five cuts.
Life has finally stabilized for the Reed — who welcomed a daughter during his rough stretch — and so has his game. After a 3-under-par second round Friday at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club, he sits atop the leader board at 6 under par with Marc Leishman, 20-year-old Oliver Goss and Ricky Barnes.
“After our last win, we’ve been itching for our little girl to come see us, and now she’s finally here,” Reed said. “So it’s been great. It’s been better for me probably than golf-wise, that’s for sure.”
Starting on the back nine Friday, Reed birdied the 10th hole with ease. But on 11, Reed three-putted for a double bogey. On his walk from the tee to the green, some fans passing by stopped to watch him hit his second shot, asking one another whether anyone knew who he was. He birdied the 13th to get back to even par for his first nine holes.
Reed’s wife, Justine, followed. She caddied at this tournament last year, but that was before she had a five-week old daughter.
“I’m exhausted,” she said in between holes. “I was up all night with the baby.”
Reed asked Justine’s brother, Kessler Karain, to caddie while she went on maternity leave. Karain played golf in high school but had never caddied before. He was working in medical sales when Reed asked him to fill-in for Justine. Justine plans on going back to her caddie duties in August.
“He wanted me to try to caddie at the British Open,” Justine said. “He asks me every day, ‘Are you ready?’ ”
It wasn’t until near the end of the round that Reed pulled into the lead, birdieing three of his last five holes. Reed hit just eight of 14 fairways in his second round, saving par out of the rough each time.
Reed said his strength on the course is scrambling, and he has been doing a lot of that lately.
Walking off the course tied for the lead, Reed stopped to sign golf balls to give them to support staff, thanking them for their patience.