Patrick Reed says beating a star-studded field to capture the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday shows he is among the top five players in the world.
The 23-year-old American said his impressive amateur resume combined with his three wins on the PGA Tour in seven months puts him in elite company.
“I’ve worked so hard. I won a lot in junior career, did great things in amateur career, was 6-0 in match play at NCAA’s, won NCAA’s two years in a row ... and now I have three wins out here on the PGA Tour,” said Reed, who shot a closing even-par 72 to win the event by one stroke on Sunday.
“I don’t see a lot of guys who have done that other than Tiger Woods and the legends of the game. I am one of the top five players in the world. I feel I have proven myself,” he said.
While world No. 20 Reed basks in the glow of his latest victory, Tiger Woods is left to pick up the pieces after one of the worst Sundays of his career.
Woods stumbled to the finish with six-over 78. Woods, who won this event for the seventh time last year, played through the pain of a nagging bad back.
Reed finished at four-under 284 to beat runner-ups Welshman Jamie Donaldson and American Bubba Watson.
Donaldson shot a two-under 70 to grab a share of second along with 2012 runner-up Watson, who had a four-under 68 in the US$9 million tournament.
Donaldson made birdie on No. 17 to get within one, but he bogeyed 18.
South Africa’s Richard Sterne (71) and American Dustin Johnson (72) tied for fourth at even-par 288. Stephen Gallacher (69), Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68) and Bill Haas (71) were one stroke back at one-over.
Woods and Jim Furyk were the only two players without a birdie in the final round.
Woods struggled to even finish his round as he shot the worst Sunday score of his career.
He says he suffered from back spasms which began after a tricky bunker shot at the sixth.
Things had begun to go south on Woods even before that, including his opening hole at the Blue Monster on Doral, where he bloodied a spectator with a wayward shot.
Woods, who was just three shots back of the leaders after the third round, made bogey on No. 3 after hitting another spectator and finding the water on the same hole.
“I was done after that,” Woods said of the pain that set in after the bunker shot on the sixth. “I was just trying to keep the spasms at bay, but anything in flexion was done. The deeper the flexion, the worse it felt.”
Reed needed a conservative finish as he made bogey on two of his final five holes. Reed, who played an iron off the 18th tee, said the win will give him a huge confidence boost.
“To come out like this, go wire to wire, I feel like I proved myself,” Reed said. “I hit the ball so good this week and my putting was outstanding.”