Saturday, June 23, 2018

Reed leads Humana PGA even by one over foursome

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Patrick Reed went low in perfect scoring and weather conditions Thursday at the Humana Challenge. He wasn't alone.

Reed ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his opening round on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course and finished with bogey-free 9-under 63 to tie his career low.

"The course is in perfect shape," said Reed, the Wyndham Championship winner in August. "The rough isn't very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true. That's the main thing to being successful out here is with how great the conditions are."

Ryan Palmer, Justin Hicks, Daniel Summerhays and Charley Hoffman shot 64.

Reed started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 16-18 and 1-2 to get to 7 under. He added birdies on Nos. 6 and 7.

With wife Justine pregnant with their first child, her brother Kessler Karain is subbing as Reed's caddie. Justine has walked every hole with her husband this year and plans to rejoin him inside the ropes after the baby girl arrives. The due date is Memorial Day.

With a high temperature in the mid 80s and only a gentle morning breeze, the players averaged 69.692 on the Palmer course, 69.431 on the Nicklaus layout, and 70.192 at La Quinta.

Kapalua winner Zach Johnson topped the group at 65. He played at La Quinta.

PGA Europe: Phil Mickelson didn't have much success with his new driver in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, failing to make a birdie in his 1-over 73 to sit six shots behind the leaders at the United Arab Emirates.

Mickelson made 17 straight pars in his first round of the year before a bogey on his last hole. Playing partner Rory McIlroy shot 70. Matthew Baldwin of England was tied for the one-shot lead at 67 with Romain Wattel of France and Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Legends not coming here?

The Legends Tour announced its 14 events for this season, and the annual Innisbrook stop isn't one of them. But tour officials said that doesn't mean the Handa Legends Tour Open Championship will not be held at the Palm Harbor golf resort.

"We are working on bringing the Legends back to Tampa in 2014 and will know more at the end of this month," Sue Fracker, the tour's director of marketing, said in an email.

The tour has ended its season with a tournament on Innisbrook's Island Course since 2009. Last year's championship, won by Laurie Rinker, was played Nov. 9-10. The Legends Tour, in its 14th season, is for former LPGA players age 45 and older. The season does not start until May.

Times staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.

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