Patrick Reed plays his shot from the 12th tee during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/ORLANDO RAMIREZ
Patrick Reed plays his shot from the 12th tee during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/ORLANDO RAMIREZ

San Diego — Patrick Reed pushed aside a weekend of controversy to shoot a steady four-under-par 68 on Sunday and cruise to a five-shot victory at the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course outside San Diego.

Reed finished the tournament at 14-under 274, well ahead of a group of five that included Tony Finau, Ryan Palmer, Xander Schauffele, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Sweden’s Henrik Norlander.

The victory sets up Reed to be among the favourites for the US Open in June, which will also take place on Torrey Pines’ South Course.

“It gives me the confidence since I will see [the course] again in June during the US Open,” Reed said. “You know it’s going to play tougher, you know the rough is going to be thicker even though it’s already thick. The greens are probably going to get firmer, the golf course is going to get tighter.”

Reed was the talk of golf on Saturday and into Sunday morning after he picked up his ball on the 10th hole during Saturday’s third round before calling over a rules official to confirm the ball was embedded in soggy ground. The ball actually bounced before coming to rest, but he still was awarded a free drop and salvaged par.

Ultimately the move was considered within the rules, though ethical questions remained. Fuelling the scrutiny was an episode in 2019 when Reed appeared to ground his club in a bunker before playing a shot.

Reed struggled on Saturday after his 10th-hole controversy, watching a four-stroke lead turn into a tie after three rounds with Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz at 10-under par. Like Saturday, Reed made a move on the front nine when he shot a three-under 33 that included an eagle on the par-five, sixth hole and a bogey on the par-three eighth.

From there, he avoided trouble by shooting a one-under on the back nine while the competition fell by the wayside. Reed was eight-under on the front nine in the final two rounds.

“My biggest takeaway was mentally, I hung in there and stayed the course,” Reed said after his ninth career victory. “We felt like we did [the right thing], the rules officials felt like they did that at the same time so with that being said I felt fine, I felt great throughout the day. And at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have felt any other way. I was able to shoot a low number [on Sunday] and get the job done.”

Hovland was within a shot of Reed on Sunday before consecutive bogeys at 14 and 15, and another at 17 to finish at 71. Finau tried to make a late charge before finding water at 18 for a bogey.

“I hit it really nice this week and I was really happy with that,” Finau said after a final-round 69. “It felt quite simple. Putting needs some work, there is no question about that. It kind of let me down today and I was kind of bummed I missed some short ones on the back nine. Overall, it was another solid week and I can continue to build from this.”

Schauffele and Norlander carded final-round 69s while Palmer shot 70. A three-way tie for seventh place at eight-under included Will Zalatoris (71 on Sunday), Lanto Griffin (72) and Spain’s Jon Rahm, who shot consecutive even-par 72s on Saturday and Sunday after a 67 on Friday.

Ortiz stumbled to a six-over 78 Sunday while playing in the final group and finished in a tie for 29th place at four-under.

It was the first victory for Reed since he won the WGC-Mexico Championship in February 2020. Having also won the 2018 Masters, he has now won one tournament in each of the past four years.

Australia’s Marc Leishman, the tournament winner in 2020, shot a two-under 70 to finish at five-under 283 and in a tie for 18th place. Phil Mickelson, a San Diego native who won the event in 1993, 2000 and 2001, shot an even-par 72 in the final round to finish at one-over 289 and in a tie for 53rd place.

The only other time the South Course at Torrey Pines was the host for the US Open was in 2008 when Tiger Woods was the winner, outlasting Rocco Mediate in a memorable 91-hole battle. Woods also won the PGA Tour event at the course earlier that year.

Reuters

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