KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Strong-finishing Patrick Reed held his nerve to beat fellow American Jimmy Walker in a playoff for the $5.7 million Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Monday to clinch his fourth victory on the PGA Tour.
Reed, who vaulted into contention by spectacularly holing out from the fairway to eagle the par-four 16th, coolly sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-five last to win the PGA Tour’s opening event of the year.
Walker, who moments earlier had missed a putt from the same distance on the 18th green to land the title in regulation, was six feet short of the cup in four after hitting a poor chip shot for his third which ran off the back of the green.
“Here on the last, I gave myself a chance and I was lucky enough to make it,” a beaming Reed, 24, told NBC Sports after being embraced by his wife Justine.
“My confidence level is really high right now. At the same time, you continue to tighten up on things and you continue to move forward.”
Reed and Walker had finished the 72 regulation holes in the elite winners-only event on 21-under-par 271, Walker closing with a four-under 69 on the hilly Plantation Course and Reed carding a 67.
Australian Jason Day finished in a tie for third at 20 under with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (70) and American Russell Henley (67) after equaling the tournament course record with a sizzling 62.
Walker, like Reed bidding for a fourth victory on the PGA Tour, was left to rue missed chances after squandering a three-shot lead with eight holes to play.
“It was there for me to win,” said the 35-year-old, who won three times in just eight starts to launch his 2013-14 season in sizzling fashion.
“It was a bummer I didn’t close the door on it. You feel the pressure, you are trying to win a golf tournament. I was hitting good shots ... just didn’t make any putts.”
Tied for the lead overnight with Matsuyama, Walker made a fast start with four birdies on the front nine to reach the turn two strokes clear.
Walker appeared to tighten his grip on the title with another birdie at the 10th, where he hit an exquisite approach to nine feet, to lead by three.
However, he surprisingly bogeyed the 14th after missing a four-footer for par and was caught at the top when Reed holed out from 80 yards to eagle the 16th.
Walker missed birdie chances from eight feet at the 15th and 16th before being handed a one-shot cushion when Reed lipped out from four feet to bogey the 17th.
After Reed birdied the last, Walker parred the hole to take the tournament into a playoff.
Editing by Peter Rutherford