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Published May 02, 2016
Four shots behind with four holes to play, Patrick Reed made two birdies and holed out from 80 yards for an eagle Monday, and then closed out his unlikely rally by making an 18-foot birdie putt to beat Jimmy Walker in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The PGA Tour started a new year without a host of big names, but got a compelling finish at Kapalua.
Reed charged back into the picture with his eagle on the 16th hole, a shot that spun back toward the hole and hit the pin before dropping. After three-putting from 100 feet just off the green for bogey on the 17th, he two-putted from 80 feet for birdie on the par-5 closing hole for a 6-under 67.
Then it was up to Walker, trying to become the fifth player to win both PGA Tour events in Hawaii.
For the second straight day, Walker didn't make birdie after the 10th hole, and this time it cost him. The only big mistake in regulation was trying to play it safe off the short par-4 14th and hitting 4-iron into a bunker. He went over the green and made bogey, his first bogey in 33 holes.
Walker missed birdie putts inside 10 feet on the next two holes. He then wasted a good shot at birdie on the 18th when his chip came out soft and he was short on an 18-foot birdie putt. He shot 69 and joined Reed at 21-under 271.
In the playoff, Walker again had the advantage when Reed couldn't come close to reaching the green. Walker, however, hit it well right into the rough, and this time the chip came out hot and went over the green. He chipped to 6 feet and never had to putt.
Reed hit wedge into 18 feet and holed the putt, giving the 24-year-old his fourth PGA Tour victory and second in a playoff.
"It was there for me to win," Walker said. "It was a bummer I didn't close the door on it."
It was Reed's first victory since the World Golf Championship at Doral, where he caused a stir by saying he was among the top five players in the world. This should move him to a career-best No. 14 in the world, though he was more interested in what he could do get better.
Four wins before turning 25 puts him in elite company.
Jason Day became the second player on Monday to tie the Plantation Course record with a 62 — Chris Kirk shot 62 earlier in the day as the first player out. Day posted at 20-under 272, though that score never looked as though it would be enough. Russell Henley closed with five straight birdies for a 67 to join Day at 272.
They were joined by Hideki Matsuyama, tied with Walker at the start of the final round. The 22-year-old from Japan also felt as though he lost a good chance to win. He missed birdie chances on the last four holes and missed them all to shoot 70.
Walker and Matsuyama were locked in a spirited duel over the front nine until Walker landed what appeared to be a knockout punch. He holed a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 8, hit a great fairway metal from a downhill lie onto the green at the par-5 ninth for a two-putt birdie, and then made a 10-foot putt at the 10th for his third straight birdie.
That gave him a three-shot lead, and he kept that margin with six holes to play.
It all changed so quickly.
Walker ended his streak of 32 holes without a bogey when he tried to play conservatively off the tee at the 14th and missed a short par putt. In the group ahead of him, Reed birdied the par-5 15th and suddenly took a share of the lead by holing a wedge from 80 yards out for eagle on the 16th hole.
Just like that, it was a sprint to the finish.
Reed looked as if he had wasted his big surge when he three-putted for bogey from just off the green 100 feet away, lipping out his 4-foot par attempt. But he reached the front of the 18th in two shots for a two-putt birdie.
It gave him a chance, and that was all Reed needed.