Spieth, Reed bring out best in each other

By Doug Ferguson
Published on
Spieth, Reed bring out best in each other

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) -- Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed competed each other in junior golf, each beat the other in a playoff on the PGA Tour, were partners in the Ryder Cup and played in the last group of the U.S. Open on the weekend last year.

They were paired in the final group in the first PGA Tour event of the year, and the results were predictable.

They both played well.

They were part of a five-way tie for the lead in the 18th fairway at Kapalua in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. But not for long. Reed smashed a 3-wood from 309 yards that trundled onto the front of the green and the grain took it to 15 feet below the hole. He made the putt for an eagle and an 8-under 65.

Spieth came up short and showed the brilliance of his short game with a high pitch to 4 feet for birdie and a 66.

"For whatever reason it is, whether we want to feed off each other or we want to beat the crap out of each other, we somehow play well together," Spieth said. "We still want to outdo each other, even when we're teammates. So it's a good pairing.

"I still don't like losing to him in a round when I play with him."

And now they get to do it again.

Here's what else is on tap for the second round from paradise:

DEFENDING CHAMP: Only two players have won back-to-back at Kapalua since the Tournament of Champions moved to Maui in 1999 — Stuart Appleby (three times) and Geoff Ogilvy (twice). One theory was that both those players were competing at home in Australia deep into the previous year.

Australia is about the only place Reed hasn't been lately.

In a span of seven weeks, Reed played in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai (twice), Dubai and The Bahamas. And he never finished out of the top 10.

"I've always wanted to play on both tours and be a worldwide player, and I had to play that much at the end to keep status on the European Tour," Reed said.

BIG FINISH: On the one hand, Reed had to rally to take the lead in the opening round. He was in the middle of the pack at 2-under par when he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th, followed with a pair of tap-in birdies at the 14th and 15th, hit a great shot over the gorge to 2 feet on the 17th and ended with an eagle.

That made him 6 under over the last six holes.

Spieth looked at it another way.

"Patrick could have shot 13 under today," Spieth said. "If he had his putter going at the start of the round ... he missed quite a few short-length putts on the front nine."

NEW YEAR, OLD YEAR: Spieth gave a smart answer earlier in the week when asked what he would do for an encore from his 2015 season. His point was an encore usually meant the show was over, and he didn't want that to be the case.

And there was another side to that response.

"Any time it's mentioned that it's a new year, it's almost as if the questions that are asked are, 'How in the world are you going to do what you did last season?' Well, I should get a little better each time I go and practice, right?" he said. "So it almost feels like it's negative to think about it as trying to create an encore."

He said Thursday felt like last year. That's a good thing for him.

CHALLENGERS: Brandt Snedeker, J.B. Holmes and Danny Lee were two shots behind at 67.

Snedeker must feel like a resident at this point. He arrived last Wednesday and spent four days playing the Plantation Course before the tournament week began. He knows Kapalua, but everyone can use a refresher course on the massive greens.

"You get comfortable on greens and be aggressive on putts that you know are fast or slow," Snedeker said. "You just have to know putts. They're hard to read. So that's kind of the reason I came over to do that."

THE SHOES: Rickie Fowler rallied with three birdies on his last five holes for a 69, and all anyone cared about were his high-top golf shoes.

"I think on the younger side, it's more positive. I think on the traditionalist side, they're not too pumped," Fowler said. "I've kind of been who I am out here. I like kind of pushing the limits, having fun and enjoying myself and that's what we're doing."

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.