Patrick Reed claimed his third PGA Tour victory in seven months, holding on to beat Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson of Wales by one stroke in the WGC-Cadillac Championship on the TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral in Miami.
The 23-year-old Reed, who became the youngest winner of a World Golf Championships event by 26 days over Tiger Woods (1999 WGC-NEC Invitational), birdied three of the first four holes and built an early four-stroke lead in the final round.
Then he played conservatively in a closing even-par 72, laying up on the difficult 18th hole to win with a two-putt bogey.
“I just stayed patient,” said Reed, who captured the Wyndham Championship last August and the Humana Challenge in January after opening with three consecutive 63s. “I hit the ball so good and my putting was just outstanding. On a golf course like this, you have to be confident.
“I have three wins on the PGA Tour (at 23). You don’t see a lot of guys who have done that, other than Tiger and some of the other legends of the game. I feel I’m one of the top five players in the world.”
Donaldson, who has won twice on the European Tour and six times as a pro, was one stroke back before missing 17-foot par putt on the final hole that would have put some pressure on Reed and finished with a 70.
Watson, who captured the Northern Trust Open last month for his first victory since the 2012 Masters, closed with 68 that included birdies on the 15th and 16th holes before he missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the 17th and scrambled for a closing par.
Dustin Johnson holed a 10-foot eagle putt on the first hole and was close to the lead until hitting into the water and closing with a double-bogey 6 to shoot 72. He tied for fourth, four strokes back, with Richard Sterne of South Africa, who finished with a 71.
Defending champion Tiger Woods, who has won the tournament a record seven times and charged into contention with a 66 on Saturday, struggled with back spasms for a second straight Sunday and didn’t make a birdie for the eighth time in his career while closing with a 78 to tie for 25th.