by Sean Martin
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Augusta State sophomore Patrick Reed won his first major amateur title Sunday at the Jones Cup, beating France’s Victor Dubuisson in a playoff. Reed started the week 12th in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Player Rankings, while Dubuisson was No. 14.
Reed, a semifinalist at the ’08 U.S. Amateur, and Dubuisson both shot 74 in the final round to finish at 6-over 222 at Ocean Forest, site of the ’01 Walker Cup. Reed won after getting up-and-down for par on the first playoff hole.
“I feel like I’ve been playing real well,” Reed said. “I knew it had to come some time soon.”
Reed had a 10-foot birdie putt for the victory on the final hole of regulation, but the ball lipped out hard. Dubuisson made bogey on the final hole of regulation when his approach ran down a swale, ending up 25 yards behind the green.
Reed hit six of 14 fairways in the final round, and 11 of 18 greens.
THE PLAYOFF: Reed had 85 yards and wanted to hit sand wedge for his approach shot on the first playoff hole. One problem: he’d left it on the 12th hole.
“I look in my bag, and there’s no sand wedge,” Reed said.
Lucky for him, the tournament was already in his hands, so Reed hit his 52-degree wedge instead.
Dubuisson had already taken five strokes before Reed hit his approach. Dubuisson, the European Amateur champ, hit his long-iron tee shot and approach in the water that runs down the left side of the hole.
“I was feeling bad because I finished the round half an hour (earlier) and I needed to warm up,” Dubuisson said.
Reed hit his approach just over the green, then got up-and-down for par. Dubuisson picked up his ball after failing to hole his chip.
GOOD SAVE: Reed’s best hole of the day may have been a bogey. He was coming off his only birdie of the day, at the par-4 11th, when he drove well left into trees on the par-4 12th. Reed’s second shot ended up in a greenside bunker. He caught too much ball and flew the green with his sand shot, leaving himself a difficult up-and-down.
Reed’s ball was 15 feet below the putting surface, with only 10 feet of green between himself and the hole. He hit the bump-and-run to 5 feet, then made the bogey putt. Reed parred in, including a sand save on the 13th.
UNLOCKED: It looked like Dubuisson’s tournament when he hit the green with his 6-iron second shot at the 562-yard, par-5 14th, which was playing downwind. Dubuisson burned the edge with his 25-foot eagle putt, but still took a three-shot lead with the birdie. It was Dubuisson’s second two-putt birdie of the back nine. He hit the par-5 10th in two with a 3-iron.
Dubuisson made bogeys on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to fall into a tie with Reed. Dubuisson hit his 7-iron tee shot over the par-3 15th. His 3-iron ran through the green at the par-3 17th; he followed by hitting a poor chip shot to 8-feet. Dubuisson’s second shot to the final hole looked like it was going to stop in the fringe just past the putting surface, but it continued to trickle down a large swale, finishing some 25 yards beyond the putting surface.
Dubuisson will play in this year’s British Open at St. Andrews by virtue of his European Amateur victory. He said he will turn pro the following week.
CLOSE SHAVE: Blayne Barber, the 36-hole leader, shot 76 to finish one shot outside the playoff. Barber’s only bogey on the back nine – when he failed to get up-and-down at the par-3 17th – came after several close calls for birdie.
Barber’s chip at the par-4 13th hit the flagstick and finished inches from the hole. He lipped out a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 14th, burned the edge with a 40-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th and lipped out another 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th.
NOTABLES: U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An shot 71, one of two sub-par rounds Sunday, to finish fourth. Bobby Wyatt, who’ll be a freshman at Alabama this fall, finished fifth at 9 over.
Matt Nagy, who qualified for last year’s U.S. Open, and U.S. Mid-Am champ Nathan Smith tied for sixth at 10 over par.
EASY STREET: Sunday was the easiest day at the Jones Cup. The scoring average was “only” 78.2. The second-round scoring average was 79.2 All three days were played under cold, windy conditions, which explains why Ocean Forest played to a 78.8 scoring average for the tournament.