Patrick's edge is as slim as a reed

American leads Barclays by only 2 shots; Fowler, Spieth, Day among chasing pack

NEW YORK • Patrick Reed took a two-shot lead at The Barclays Championship on Friday, firing a three-under 68 to take a slender advantage into the weekend action.

The world No. 14 had looked to be on course to take a bigger lead over the chasing pack but two bogeys in the final three holes at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale jolted his momentum.

He was left ruing what could be costly dropped shots over the closing stages of a mostly polished round.

"(Those) are my two mental mistakes where I went away from my game plan, cost me two shots," Reed said.

"I just need to get back to playing on the game plan. I did it perfectly for 18 holes yesterday."

RUING HIS ERRORS

(Those) are my two mental mistakes where I went away from my game plan, cost me two shots.

PATRICK REED, American golfer, on his bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes.

The overnight leader had started in blistering form, opening with back-to-back birdies to move to seven under for the tournament.

Two more birdies on the fourth and seventh left him at nine under before a bogey at the par-three eighth pegged him back.

He steadied the ship with three straight pars followed by a birdie on the 13th, followed by two more pars.

A missed five-footer on the 16th led to a bogey before a brilliant tee-shot on the par-three 17th left him inches to the hole for a simple birdie.

But a wayward approach on the 18th found a bunker and his recovery left him with a 24-footer to save par, which came up short.

Reed leads Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and fellow American Rickie Fowler by two.

Grillo followed up his opening 67 with a 69, a round that could have looked a lot better had it not been for a bogey on the ninth and a double-bogey on the 10th.

Fowler meanwhile fired a bogey-free two-under 69 - with two birdies and 16 pars - putting him at six under for the tournament.

One back was Ryan Moore, who shot a three-under 68 comprising five birdies and two bogeys following his opening 69.

Australia's world No. 1 Jason Day and third-ranked Jordan Spieth were in a group of five players tied for fifth on four under.

Day shot a one-under 70 while Spieth, disappointed with a 71 on Thursday, shot four birdies and an eagle to get back on track. A double bogey on the 10th limited his advance, however, and he was on 67.

"It was a little difficult out there but I felt like I ground it out pretty good," Day said. "I know Patrick is up there, and I'm currently four back. Just got to try to get it under par and slowly chip away at it."

Scotland's Martin Laird, who had shared the lead with Reed after the first round, drifted off the pace with a one-over 72.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy will need to produce a major charge over the weekend after a round which had threatened to leave him within striking distance.

McIlroy finished the day at two under, with consecutive bogeys on the 15th and 16th thwarting his charge as he finished with a two-under 69.

"It was nice to get to minus four. The wind wasn't as bad and the course was playing a little easier," he said. "If there was any day to make a good score, today was it.

"It's been a little stop-start. Just when I feel like I'm getting momentum I get stopped in my tracks."

PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker was among 41 players who missed the three-over cut, finishing at 147 after a 73.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THE BARCLAYS: DAY 4

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 28, 2016, with the headline 'Patrick's edge is as slim as a reed'. Print Edition | Subscribe