Shanghai - If Patrick Reed felt any concern after stirring Ryder Cup
controversy, he showed no trace of it Thursday in posting a superb
eight-under-par 64 for the opening-round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
In his first start since last month's heavy USA defeat to
Europe, the reigning Masters champ overcame gusting winds en route to an
eight-birdie, bogey-free performance at the $10 million tournament in Shanghai.
Reed, 28, whose competitive attitude is often seen as cocky
and abrasive, had raised hackles by criticising USA team captain Jim Furyk's
Ryder Cup pairings.
But he let his game do the talking at par-72 Sheshan
International Golf Course, rolling in lengthy putts for birdie on his second
and third holes and sticking an approach one foot from the pin for another
birdie two holes later to ignite the scoring spree.
"It was pumping out there," Reed said of the
"It felt really good. To shoot a round like that in
these kinds of conditions, you know you're going to have confidence when the
wind dies down."
Fellow American Xander Schauffle and Reed's Ryder Cup
teammate Tony Finau finished tied for second, two strokes back at six-under,
while last year's winner Justin Rose was in a pack of golfers at 69.
Reed had said after the Ryder Cup that he was
"blindsided" by being grouped with Tiger Woods rather than Jordan
Spieth, with whom Reed formed a potent team in USA's 2016 victory.
Reed, whose comments were chief among the recriminations in
the US camp after their 17.5 to 10.5 loss at Le Golf National, had alleged that
Spieth refused to play with him.
But Furyk rejected that, saying pairings were made known to
the team weeks before, an assertion later backed by former world number one
Reed did not make any comments about the row after his
The field in Shanghai features 19 of the world's top 30
golfers, but newly crowned number one Brooks Koepka couldn't quite get the
Koepka has been hot this year, winning the US Open - his
second in a row - the PGA Championship and Player of the Year honours, and
victory in the CJ Cup in South Korea last week made him number one for the
But he was among the golfers unable to master the windy
conditions, notching just one birdie and a bogey for an even-par 72.
Rose, who seized on a final-round collapse by 54-hole leader
Dustin Johnson to win last year, looked sharp but was happy to escape with a 69
after he closed both the front and back nines with bogeys.
"Sixty-nine is about the worst score I could have had out
there. I played really good golf. It was possibly an eight-under round with the
chances that I had," said the world number three.
Johnson, who was the planet's top-ranked golfer until good
buddy Koepka leapfrogged him just days ago, will have to battle back after
sliding to a two-over 74.
The tournament, dubbed "Asia's major", annually
gathers a premier crop of players and carries a winner's purse of $1.8 million.
Leading scores from the opening round of the $10 million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Thursday:
64 - Patrick Reed (USA)
66 - Xander Schauffele (USA), Tony Finau (USA)
67 - Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG)
68 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Billy Horschel (USA), Cheng Tsung Pan (TPE)
69 - Keegan Bradley (USA), George Coetzee (RSA), Ian Poulter (ENG), Justin Rose (ENG), Adam Scott (AUS), Matt Wallace (ENG)
70 - Pat Perez (USA), Alexander Bjork (SWE), Patrick Cantlay (USA), Ryan Fox (NZL), Andrew Putnam (USA), Chez Reavie (USA), Kyle Stanley (USA), Emiliano Grillo (ARG)