SAN DIEGO – Patrick Reed began his week in America’s Finest City hitting golf balls in some of the worst conditions Mother Nature can dial up.
At the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa on Monday, Reed was working with his new coach, David Leadbetter, as wind gusts exceeded 50 mph and spots of rain were coming in sideways. Didn’t matter; Reed had a blast hitting 8-irons 100 yards into the wind.
“I never like to just kind of sit in the room, it would drive me nuts just sitting there,” Reed said. “That being said, we went out there, were able to kind of go hit some balls and get some work in. We were able to kind of focus on technique, not really worry about ball flight. So it was almost like hitting into a net, but actually out there in the 50‑mile an hour winds. Good thing is, the swing actually felt really good when we were working on it in those conditions.”
Worked just fine in ideal conditions, too. In Thursday’s first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, Reed took advantage of the light winds barely blowing in off the sea and grabbed a share of the lead with a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 on the North Course. Joining him atop the leaderboard was Alex Noren, who carded seven birdies and an eagle on the North to offset a lone bogey.
“Definitely it felt easy out there just kind of with how I was hitting the driver, getting the ball in the fairway,” Reed said. “I was working it both ways, which was nice. I was able to hit the draws, hit the fades. The hardest, longest chance I had was on 4; had a 35‑footer for birdie and hit a great first putt, missed it three feet to the right and had a three‑footer, but that’s about it. That was the closest to a bogey, having a chance for a three‑putt, but besides that, everything else was pretty easy.”
Scottie Scheffler was in third after a 65 on the North. Ryan Palmer and Peter Malnati did their work on the South and were in a large group at 66. Rory McIlroy shot 68 on the South as Jordan Spieth got his year going with a 69 on the North.
Reed, the world No. 11 who has eight PGA Tour titles, including the 2018 Masters, started working with Leadbetter at the end of September. He has two ties for third in six starts since.
“It’s still a learning process, we’re still working on it, still trying to get it where it’s comfortable on certain shots and just kind of where it’s more kind of second nature rather than trying to sit there and put a club in a position,” said Reed, who would not divulge specifics on what the two are working on. “I feel like it’s been amazing ball‑striking‑wise.
“And really the biggest thing is clarity, knowing kind of what each shot is. Like when I hit the ball left, kind of knowing what it is in my swing. At this level, if you’re able to know that, then you’re able to kind of fix it on the golf course and you’re not having to wait until the round’s completely done in order to try to get the ball on track.”
It hasn’t been easy by any means. But Reed is confident moving forward.
“There definitely were signs right off the bat that it was obviously the right thing to do and the right way to go, but I’ve been swinging one way basically my whole life and having to change that and make the change is obviously tough,” Reed said. “There’s a lot of work going on not just on the golf course but also at home and doing drills, stuff like that, just trying to dial it in and get it more locked in.
“It’s been a tough change, but at the same time it’s been very rewarding.”
It certainly was in the first round at Torrey Pines.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/28/patrick-reed-swing-changes-farmers-insurance-open/