Patrick Reed simply let the wind carry him to the first-round lead of the WGC-HSBC Champions.
Reed posted a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 and is two strokes ahead of Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State in breezy conditions at Sheshan International Golf Club http://www.sheshangolf.com/en/ in Shanghai, China.
“It felt really good, because if you can go out and shoot rounds like that in these kind of conditions, you know you’re going to have confidence when the wind dies down and there are perfect conditions out there,” said Reed, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and all 18 greens.
“I was hitting the ball really solid. I was hitting irons where I was looking and I was able to control it, not only directional-wise, but also trajectories and what kind of heights I wanted to hit it.
“I felt like that was key because when it’s windy like that, you have to have full control over it. And I was able to do that.”
Reed, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour whose only victory in the World Golf Championships came in the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship, collected four birdies on each nine, including a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole.
Schauffele carded five birdies in a span of six holes in the middle of his bogey-free 66 before sinking a 10-foot par putt on his last hole, while Finau equaled that score with the help of two birdie putts of more than 25 feet.
Matthew Fitzpatrick of England had two late birdies in a 67 that left him in solo fourth, while Billy Horschel carded a bogey-free 68 to tie for fifth with Tommy Fleetwood of England, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain and C.T. Pan of Taiwan.
Third-ranked Justin Rose of England, the defending champion, shot 69 and is tied for 10th with Adam Scott of Australia, Ian Poulter of England, Keegan Bradley, George Coetzee of South Africa and Matt Wallace of England.
Tenth-ranked Jason Day of Australia totaled 71 and is tied for 24th, top-ranked Brooks Koepka and fifth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland are in a tie for 27th at 72, eighth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain is tied for 41st at 73, second-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 74 and is tied for 49th, while sixth-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy struggled to a 76 and is tied for 68th.
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