Patrick Reed shoots another 63 in Humana Challenge
Patrick Reed watches his tee shot on the third hole
LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) -- Patrick Reed was pleased with the twin 9-under 63s next to his name at the top of the Humana Challenge leaderboard.
He had some other numbers in mind, too -- the shots he let get away.
"Today, I felt like there was three shots out there," Reed said Friday. "Yesterday, I thought there was one or two out there. So there's still room for improvement."
How often is he completely satisfied?
"Never," Reed said.
Not long ago, Reed was working on such a tight margin that a shot or two was the difference between playing and packing. He didn't squander many of those chances, either, successfully Monday-qualifying for six events and making 12 starts in 2012 before earning his PGA Tour card at Q-school that December.
That experience has come in handy this week.
"For sure," Reed said. "It's a birdiefest, this tournament is. ... It's pretty easy to get in that Monday-qualifying mindset."
He opened Thursday on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course, played tree-lined La Quinta Country Club on Friday and was headed back to PGA West on Saturday for a round on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course. The tournament will end Sunday on the Palmer course.
"I'm going to go in doing the same thing I did going into today and same thing I did going into the first day," said Reed, the Wyndham Championship winner in August with wife Justine at his side as his caddie.
"Stick to my notes, stick to my game plans. If I don't have to hit driver and I can hit an iron off the tee, then I'm going to hit iron off the tee. Whatever allows me to get on the green is key for me, because my putter is really working."
Justine is pregnant with their first child, and her brother, Kessler Karain, is subbing as Reed's caddie. Justine has walked every hole with her 23-year-old husband this year and plans to rejoin him inside the ropes after the baby girl arrives around Memorial Day.
Justine got a good look at his best shot of the day, a high 5-iron approach on the par-5 fifth that landed softly and rolled to 4 feet to set up an eagle. He also had eight birdies and his lone bogey in 36 holes.
"That tee shot on 5's not easy," Reed said. "You have to hit a perfect high cut around that tree and if it goes straight, you're actually through the fairway. You have to hit a hook around those trees.
"And when I hit a perfect drive like that, had a perfect number for a 5-iron to the left flag. When I hit something three-quarters or 85 percent, it's normally a little draw, so I just aimed it in the middle of the green and hit it up there to 4 feet. That was kind of just perfect for me."
La Quinta has been that kind of place for the former Baton Rouge, La., high school champion who helped Augusta State win NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011. When Reed earned his PGA Tour card back in 2012, it was at PGA West.
Brendon Todd was two strokes back in second place after a 63 on the Palmer course. He's the only player without a bogey.
"Obviously, both days were really solid," Todd said. "Bogey-free was huge. ... Before I knew it, I was at 7- or 8-under with a few to play, feeling like I should birdie every hole. ... The weather's been so good, I'm not surprised to see what Patrick did."
The temperature climbed into the 80s and it was so calm the ponds looked like glass, the water as still as the plastic swans PGA West uses to scare away geese.
Ryan Palmer was third, three strokes behind at 15-under after a 65 at La Quinta. He also made a short eagle putt on the fifth hole.
"Overall, it was another great day," Palmer said.
Charley Hoffman, the 2007 winner, was 14-under after a 66 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course. He had five straight birdies on the front nine.
"There's water, there's trouble if you short-side yourself, but if you're hitting good shots, the greens are good and you can make a bunch of birdies," Hoffman said.
Kapalua winner Zach Johnson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6, was tied for eighth at 11-under. He had an eagle, six birdies, two bogeys -- on his first two holes -- and a double bogey in a 68 on the Nicklaus course.
"I would like to start over, but this is a tournament of patience," Johnson said.
Playing alongside Johnson, Keegan Bradley had his first PGA Tour hole-in-one in a 66 that left him 9-under in his first start of the year. His 176-yard shot on the third hole landed about 10 feet short of the pin and rolled in.
"A little baby 7-iron," Bradley said.