Patrick Reed knows what to do with a lead.
The 23-year-old Texan went wire to wire to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on Sunday at the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral. It was his third victory in his last 14 starts on the PGA Tour and he had the lead heading into the final round in all three.
“To go wire to wire in a field like this means a lot,” said Reed, who started the day with a two-shot lead and shot an even-par 72 to win by one shot over Jamie Donaldson and Bubba Watson.
Reed, who finished at four-under 284 on the renovated Blue Monster on rounds of 68-75-69-72, won $1.53 million from the $9-million purse.
Watson shot 68 and Donaldson 70 to finish at 285. Richard Sterne (71) and Dustin Johnson (72) tied for fourth at even-par 288.
Defending champion Tiger Woods was a non-factor. After making eight birdies and shooting 66 Saturday to get within three shots of Reed, Woods had a birdie-less 78 to finish at five-over 293 for the tournament and in a nine-way tie for 25th.
Reed, 23, never faltered Sunday, overcoming a bogey on the second hole to go ahead by as many as six shots, then getting up and down repeatedly to save par on the back nine as Donaldson and Watson made their moves.
With a two-shot lead and only Doral’s treacherous 487-yard par-four finishing hole remaining, Read played it safe, hitting a three-iron, laying up with a seven-iron, pitching to the middle of the green with a wedge and two-putting for bogey and the victory.
“Reed just kept getting up and down, kept hitting great shot after great shot and then he played so smart on 18,” said Watson, who watched the finish on TV.
Jason Dufner, who was paired with Reed, came within a shot of the leader, but that was as close as anyone got until the end. Hunter Mahan, who also started two behind the leader, was never a threat. He and Dufner both shot 76 and tied for ninth at two-over 290.
Reed and Dufner both birdied the par-five first hole, then Reed bogeyed the second when he drove into a fairway bunker, hit a poor shot from there and missed the green and failed to get up and down for par from a tricky lie. Dufner’s par had him one shot behind.
But Reed quickly took control with birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 to get to six under. Meanwhile, Dufner bogeyed the third and double-bogeyed the 195-yard par-three fourth after hitting his tee shot into the water.
“I hit a great drive and a solid seven-iron at the flag [on No. 3] and rolled in a long putt,” Reed said. “And then to step up on four, which has been giving a lot of people trouble, and to hit a seven-iron to 15, 20 feet and make a perfect putt there, that just got me going and allowed me to roll with it the rest of the day.”
Ahead by six shots, Reed strung together nine pars, recovering every time he hit a bad shot, like his drive on the par-four sixth that went way right. He reached the green and two-putted for par.
At the 11th he saved par from a greenside bunker and he did the same at No. 13. He stumbled at the 14th, missing the fairway, missing the green, then missing a five-footer for par. At the par-three 15th he almost holed his bunker shot and tapped in for par. At the par-four 17th, he hit the green from a fairway bunker and calmly two-putted from 54 feet.
“The best one was 15,” Reed said. “I hate that hole.”
The long-hitting Watson, who started the day five shots behind Reed, had no bogeys and four birdies. Donaldson, 38, who started the day three shots behind Reed, went out in even par, then birdied Nos. 10, 14 and 17 to get to four under for the tournament.
When the Welshman couldn’t get up and down for par from a greenside bunker on No. 18, Reed knew he only needed a bogey to win.
Reed hit his tee shot 218 yards, then hit his seven-iron 76 yards short of the green. Then he pitched to 31 feet, leaving himself an “easy two-putt.”
After Dufner got up and down for par, Reed rolled his first putt to within 19 inches and tapped in to become the youngest winner, by 26 days, of a WGC event.