GREENSBORO, N.C. – Patrick Reed listens to wife Justine. And with good reason: She’s carrying his clubs.
With his wife serving as his caddie, the PGA Tour rookie shot a 6-under 64 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the Wyndham Championship. He had an 11-under 129 total.
“I don’t mind her having all the attention,” Reed said. “Less attention for me, which means I can just focus more on my game.”
Reed had six birdies in a bogey-free round that was a stroke shy of matching his best of the year.
John Huh had the best round of the day – a 62 – to move to 10 under. John Deere winner Jordan Spieth was 9 under after a 66. Spieth also is a PGA Tour rookie, and Huh is in his second year.
Charlie Wi, Bob Estes, Rory Sabbatini, Brian Harman, Jim Herman and first-round co-leader Ross Fisher were 7 under.
Wi had a 65, Estes, Harman, Herman and Sabbatini shot 66, and Fisher had a 69.
Organizers moved up the third-round tee times Saturday to try to dodge a threat of rain, with players going off in threesomes at the first and 10th tees.
Reed, the 23-year-old former college player at Georgia and Augusta State, had top-10 finishes in his last two tournaments. He could have built an even bigger lead in this one, but missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh.
He closed his round with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, sinking a 10-foot putt to applause from the gallery and walking off the green with his arm around Justine’s shoulder.
She began caddying for him last summer before a Monday qualifying tournament in Houston. During a humid, 100-degree day in Texas, she had no trouble lugging around a bag full of rain gear, he said.
“I told her to read putts for me that day, and she just has a knack for reading greens extremely well,” Reed said. “It’s basically like my coach being out there with me. She knows just as much about the golf swing. She knows why I hit it left or right or anything like that, so I mean, if ever I get out of whack, she can fix me immediately.”
Reed certainly has a history on Donald Ross-designed courses in North Carolina. He reached the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Amateur on Ross’ No. 2 course at Pinehurst, and the first cut he made on the tour came at this Sedgefield Country Club course two years ago after receiving a sponsor’s exemption.
“That’s why I love this event,” Reed said.
Huh, a 23-year-old who was the youngest player on tour to win last year, came on strong late with birdies on his final three holes, including an 11-foot birdie putt on the ninth that closed his best round of the year.
Did he see this coming?
“Not 62. It was more like, maybe, 64,” he said, laughing. “I drove the ball great since (The) Masters, actually. It’s been a long time, but I was able to put everything together and I’m really pleased with it.”
A breakout rookie year on tour continued for the 20-year-old Spieth, who was 19 last month when he became the youngest winner in eight decades with his victory in the John Deere Classic.
He had a boom-or-bust day at Sedgefield with seven birdies and three bogeys. After starting on the back nine, he birdied four of his final six holes and heard chants of “Spiethy” from the gallery.
“I wish they had said ‘Spieth’ instead of ‘Spiethy,’ but you can’t pick your nickname,” Spieth said, laughing. “It’s great. It’s kind of weird, kind of new to have people kind of cheering for me. … All it does is help carry momentum, positive momentum, and hopefully, I’ll have a lot of people be yelling at my back tomorrow.”
The field is littered with players trying to either hold on to their FedEx Cup playoff position or force their way into The Barclays in New Jersey next week. The top 125 on the points list qualify for the postseason.
Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, who arrived at No. 137, moved to 3 under after his 69. Fisher, at No. 162, kept himself in position to challenge for a playoff spot, and so did Herman, No. 149.
But for others, the bubble may have burst: No. 126 Peter Hanson and No. 129 Padraig Harrington both missed the cut. Hanson was at 1 over after his 73 while Harrington’s 74 left him at 7 over.