Golf: Patrick Reed wins Farmers Insurance Open by 5 shots

Reed closed with a 4-under 68 at Torrey Pines, making an eagle on the par-5 sixth and finishing off his dominating Sunday with a birdie on the 18th.

Patrick Reed holds up the trophy after winning the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Patrick Reed pushed aside a weekend of controversy to shoot a steady 4-under-par 68 on Sunday and cruise to a five-shot victory at the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course outside San Diego.

Reed finished the tournament at 14-under 274, well ahead of a group of five that included Tony Finau, Ryan Palmer, Xander Schauffele, Norway's Viktor Hovland and Sweden's Henrik Norlander.

The victory sets up Reed to be among the favourites for the U.S. Open in June, which will also take place on Torrey Pines' South Course.

"It gives me the confidence since I will see (the course) again in June during the U.S. Open," Reed said after the round on the CBS broadcast. "You know it's going to play tougher, you know the rough is going to be thicker even though it's already thick. The greens are probably going to get firmer, the golf course is going to get tighter."

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Reed was the talk of golf on Saturday and into Sunday morning after he picked up his ball on the 10th hole during Saturday's third round before calling over a rules official to confirm the ball was embedded in soggy ground. The ball bounced before coming to rest, but he still was awarded a free drop and salvaged par.

The move ultimately was considered within the rules, although ethical questions remained. Fueling the scrutiny was an episode in 2019 where Reed appeared to ground his club in a bunker before playing a shot.

Reed struggled on Saturday after his 10th-hole controversy, watching a four-stroke lead turn into a tie after three rounds with Mexico's Carlos Ortiz at 10-under par.

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Like on Saturday, Reed made a move on the front nine when he shot a 3-under 33 that included an eagle on the par-5, sixth hole and a bogey on the par-3 eighth. From there, he avoided trouble by shooting a 1-under on the back nine while the competition fell by the wayside. Reed was 8 under on the front nine in the final two rounds.

"My biggest takeaway was mentally, I hung in there and stayed the course," Reed said after his ninth career victory. "... We felt like we did (the right thing), the rules officials felt like they did that at the same time so with that being said I felt fine, I felt great throughout the day. And at the end of the day, I wouldn't have felt any other way. I was able to shoot a low number (Sunday) and get the job done."

Hovland was within a shot of Reed on Sunday before consecutive bogeys at 14 and 15, and another at 17 to finish at 71. Finau tried to make a late charge before finding water at 18 for a bogey.

"I hit it really nice this week and I was really happy with that," Finau said after a final-round 69. "It felt quite simple. Putting needs some work, there is no question about that. It kind of let me down today and I was kind of bummed I missed some short ones on the back nine. Overall, it was another solid week and I can continue to build from this."

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Schauffele and Norlander carded final-round 69s while Palmer shot 70.

A three-way tie for seventh place at 8 under included Will Zalatoris (71 on Sunday), Lanto Griffin (72) and Spain's Jon Rahm, who shot consecutive even-par 72s on Saturday and Sunday after a 67 on Friday.

Ortiz stumbled to a 6-over 78 on Sunday while playing in the final group and finished in a tie for 29th place at 4 under.

It was the first victory for Reed, who also won the 2018 Masters since he won the WGC-Mexico Championship in February of last year. He has now won one tournament in each of the last four years.

Australia's Marc Leishman, the tournament winner in 2020, shot a 2-under 70 to finish at 5-under 283 and in a tie for 18th place.

Phil Mickelson, a San Diego native who won the event in 1993, 2000 and 2001, shot an even-par 72 in the final round to finish at 1-over 289 and in a tie for 53rd place.

The only other time the South Course at Torrey Pines was the host for the U.S. Open was in 2008 when Tiger Woods was the winner, outlasting Rocco Mediate in a memorable 91-hole battle. Woods also won the PGA Tour event at the course earlier that year.