Reed Beats Ancer by 1 in Northern Trust

Patrick Reed lost the lead for a while, yet still won for the first time since the 2018 Masters.

The 29-year-old Reed shot 2-under-par 69 thanks to two birdies on the back nine and beat Abraham Ancer of Mexico by one stroke in The Northern Trust, first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.

“I lost the lead and knew I had to make some birdies, but I knew you can make some on the back nine here,” said Reed, who claimed his seventh PGA Tour victory, including this tournament at Bethpage Black in 2016, when it was known as The Barclays. “I made one birdie and the crowd got going to pick me up.

“It’s awesome to win here in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and the crowds were great all week. It’s great to make a putt to win the tournament and it feels good to be second in the FedEx Cup standings.

“I felt like I was playing well all year, but just not getting the results. This is just the beginning, the first playoff event, but it’s a great time to get I win.”

Reed sank birdie putts of eight feet on the 14th hole and four feet two holes later en route to record a 72-hole total of 16-under 268 and climbed 48 spots in the FedEx Cup standings to No. 2.

The top 70 players in the point standings advanced to the BMW Championship on Thursday at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago, with the top 30 next Sunday moving on to the Tour Championship the following week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Ancer, seeking his first PGA Tour victory, put the pressure on Reed with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes but was unable to get close with a 50-footer on the last hole to also close with a 69. He rose 59 positions in the standings to No. 8.

Seventh-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain took the lead with birdies on the 12th and 13th holes, but fell back with bogeys on the next two in another 69 to climb five spots to fifth in the standings.

Rahm finished two shots back in a tie for third with Harold Varner, who totaled 68 and moved up 102 places to No. 29, while Adam Scott of Australia posted a 65 and finished three down in solo fifth to rise seven spots to No. 14.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 FedEx Cup winner, went up 25 to No. 44 with a 67 to wind up four back in a tie for sixth with third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the 2016 FedEx Cup champion (69, down one to No. 3), 2016 FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker (71, up 11 to No. 22) and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (69, up 23 to No. 28).

Fourth-ranked Justin Rose of England, the defending FedEx Cup winner, dropped one spot to No. 11 in the standings with a 71 to tie for 10th with Ian Poulter of England, who came in at 68 and climbed 17 spots to No. 43.

Ninth-ranked Justin Thomas, the 2017 FedEx Cup champion, shot 68 and rose two shots to No. 15 by finishing in a tie for 12th that included 10th-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who remained at No. 6.

Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx champ tied for 21st after a 70 to move up five positions to No. 39, while second-ranked Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, had a 73 and slipped three places to No. 10 by finishing in a tie for 24th that included defending Northern Trust champion and ninth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, who had a 70 and slipped two spots to No. 20.

Top-ranked Brooks Koepka closed with a 70 and remained atop the standings with a tie for 30th, while 2010 FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk slipped nine spots to No. 48 with a 74 to tie for 52nd, Phil Mickelson had a 72 to tie for 71st to drop him 12 positions to No. 46, and sixth-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy finished 82nd after a 74 and fell nine spots to No. 34.

Varner, Troy Merritt, 20-year-old Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Wyndham Clark were the only players to climb into the top 70 this week and move on to Medinah.

Merritt overcame a triple-bogey 7 on the fifth hole by shooting 70 to tie for 12th and rise 13 places to 59th, Clark shot 69 to tie for and climbed 22 spots to No. 68, and Niemann totaled 66 to tie for 30th to move up four positions to take the last spot at No. 70.

Sergio Garcia of Spain (No. 72), Danny Lee of Australia (No. 73), Matthew Wolff (No. 74) and Kevin Streelman (No. 75) fell out of the top 70.

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