Cleat Geeks

The 19th Hole: The Barclays

Patrick Reed once bragged of being one of the top five golfers in the world. His recent play is pushing him closer to that reality.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sunday, Reed won the first leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, The Barclays, claiming a one-shot victory from Sean O’Hair and Emiliano Grillo. The win comes with much more than the $1.53 million first prize or the jump to the lead in the FedEx Cup points standings. It also clinched Reed a spot on Team USA for the Ryder Cup later this year.

The top eight in Ryder Cup points after this event are guaranteed spots on the team, with captain Davis Love III selecting four wild card picks at a later date. Reed, 9th in those standings entering The Barclays, won’t have to sweat out those picks now.

“I finally get to play for the United States in the United States and I cannot wait to see how the fans are, and just have the whole crowd on our side this time,” said Reed. “It’s going to be so much fun. I know we’re going to work so hard to keep that cup back home.”

As happy a day as it was for Reed, it was equally agonizing for Rickie Fowler, who entered 12th in those Ryder Cup standings but was leading this tournament after 54 holes, in position to claim a Ryder Cup berth.RickieFowlerCollapsed

Instead, the back nine Sunday did in Fowler, capped by a double bogey at the 16th hole that dropped him into a tie for 7th and short in the Ryder Cup race. He now must wait for a pick from Love III if he’s to return to the event.

“I mean, it’s not for me to worry about right now,” Fowler said. “I’ve just got to go out and get ready to play next week. Coming off a win there last year, I feel like I’m in a good spot. I played great this week, and I’m not worried about resumé or anything like that. I’ve just got to continue to work on the game, continue getting better.

“It was almost really good this week.”

The top 100 in FedEx Cup points advance now to the Deutsche Bank Championship Sept. 2-5 in Boston. Among the players who moved up in the standings to qualify for that event were O’Hair, who made a huge jump into the top 15 with his co-runnerup finish after barely finishing the season in the top 125.

Last year the Deutsche Bank saw a great duel between Fowler and Henrik Stenson, with Fowler ultimately claiming a one-shot victory.

The top 70 players in the point standings after this event advance to the BMW Championship.


Barclays Picks

Another week, another week coming up short of a win. Sigh.

Jason Day – The Aussie was near the top of the leaderboard all week yet never close enough to mount a serious threat to actually win. 7-under, tied for 4th

Dustin Johnson – It was a bit of a disappointing week for DJ, who seems to have come down off his great summer run.  2-under, tied for 18th

Charl Schwartzel – The South African started slow and couldn’t catch up. 3-over, tied for 53rd

Webb Simpson – Same as Schwartzel, a slow start that put the former U.S. Open champ way too far behind. 2-over, tied for 48th


Deutsche Bank Picks

ryan-palmer-630x472Jordan Spieth – The young Texan made a push last week before finishing tied for 10th. He’s ready to catch his stride and go after a second straight FedEx Cup title.

Patrick Reed – He had a top-five finish here last year and comes in off a strong performance in the playoff opener. Why not stay with the hot hand?

Phil Mickelson – Lefty quietly went about his business at The Barclays before a closing 68 got him a top-15 finish.

Longshot – Ryan Palmer – He jumped from 63rd to 49th with a decent week at The Barclays. And the Texas A&M product and huge football fan won’t be distracted by the start of his beloved Aggies’ season. (Bonus pick – take A&M to upset UCLA this weekend.)

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